MAHABHARATA retold by C.

Rajagopalachari
(Edited by Jay Mazo, International Gita Society)

Contents
1. Ganapati, the Scribe 2. Devavrata 3. Bhishma's Vow 4. Amba And Bhishma 5. Devayani And Kacha 6. The Marriage Of Devayani 7. Yayati 8. Vidura 9. Kunti Devi 10. Death Of Pandu 11. Bhima 12. Karna 13. Drona 14. The Wax Palace 15. The Escape Of The Pandavas 16. The Slaying Of Bakasura 17. Draupadi's Swayamvaram 18. Indraprastha 19. The Saranga Birds 20. Jarasandha 21. The Slaying Of Jarasandha 22. The First Honor 23. Sakuni Comes In 24. The Invitation 25. The Wager 26. Draupadi's Grief 27. Dhritarashtra's Anxiety 28. Krishna's Vow 29. Pasupata 30. Affliction Is Nothing New 31. Agastya 32. Rishyasringa 33. Fruitless Penance 34. Yavakrida's End 35. Mere Learning Is Not Enough 36. Ashtavakra 37. Bhima And Hanuman 38. I am No Crane 39. The Wicked Are Never Satisfied 40. Duryodhana Disgraced 41. Sri Krishna's Hunger 42. The Enchanted Pool 43. Domestic Service 44. Virtue Vindicated 45. Matsya Defended 46. Prince Uttara 47. Promise Fulfilled 48. Virata's Delusion 49. Taking Counsel 50. Arjuna's Charioteer 51. Salya Against His Nephews 52. Vritra 53. Nahusha 54. Sanjaya's Mission 55. Not a Needle-Point Of Territory 56. Krishna's Mission 57. Attachment and Duty 58. The Pandava Generalissimo 59. Balarama 60. Rukmini 61. Non-Cooperation 62. Krishna Teaches 63. Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction 64. The First Day's Battle 65. The Second Day 66. The Third Day's Battle 67. The Fourth Day 68. The Fifth Day 69. The Sixth Day 70. The Seventh Day 71. The Eighth Day 72. The Ninth Day 73. The Passing Of Bhishma 74. Karna and the Grandsire 75. Drona in Command 76. To Seize Yudhishthira Alive 77. The Twelfth Day 78. Brave Bhagadatta

79. Abhimanyu 80. The Death Of Abhimanyu 81. A Father's Grief 82. The Sindhu King 83. Borrowed Armor 84. Yudhishthira's Misgivings 85. Yudhishthira's Fond Hope 86. Karna And Bhima 87. Pledge Respected 88. Somadatta's End 89. Jayadratha Slain 90. Drona Passes Away 91. The Death Of Karna 92. Duryodhana 93. The Pandavas Reproached 94. Aswatthama 95. Avenged 96. Who Can Give Solace? 97. Yudhishthira's Anguish 98. Yudhishthira Comforted 99. Envy 100. Utanga 101. A Pound Of Flour 102. Yudhishthira Rules 103. Dhritarashtra 104. The Passing Away Of The Three 105. Krishna Passes Away 106. Yudhishthira's Final Trial

AUTHOR'S PREFACE IT is not an exaggeration to say that the persons and incidents portrayed in the great literature of a people influence national character no less potently than the actual heroes and events enshrined in its history. It may be claimed that the former play an even more important part in the formation of ideals, which give to character its impulse of growth. In the moving history of our land, from time immemorial great minds have been formed and nourished and touched to heroic deeds by the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In most Indian homes, children formerly learnt these immortal stories as they learnt their mother tongue at the mother's knee. And the sweetness and sorrows of Sita and Draupadi, the heroic fortitude of Rama and Arjuna and the loving fidelity of Lakshmana and Hanuman became the stuff of their young philosophy of life. The growing complexity of life has changed the simple pattern of early home life. Still, there are few in our land who do not know the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Though the stories come to them so embroidered with the garish fancies of the Kalakshepam (devotional meeting where an expert scholar and singer tells a story to his audience) and the cinema as to retain but little of the dignity and approach to truth of Vyasa or Valmiki. Vyasa's Mahabharata is one of our noblest heritages. And it is my cherished belief that to hear it faithfully told is to love it and come under its elevating influence. It strengthens the soul and drives home, as nothing else does, the vanity of ambition and the evil and futility of anger and hatred. The realities of life are idealised by genius and given the form that makes drama, poetry or great prose. Since literature is

closely related to life, so long as the human family is divided into nations, literature cannot escape the effects of such division. But the highest literature transcends regionalism and through it, when we are properly attuned, we realise the essential oneness of the human family. The Mahabharata is of this class. It belongs to the world and not only to India. To the people of India, indeed, this epic has been an unfailing and perennial source of spiritual strength. Learnt at the mother's knee with reverence and love, it has inspired great men to heroic deeds as well as enabled the humble to face their trials with fortitude and faith. The Mahabharata was composed many thousand years ago. But generations of gifted reciters have added to Vyasa's original a great mass of material. All the floating literature that was thought to be worth preserving, historical, geographical, legendary political, theological and philosophical, of nearly thirty centuries, found a place in it. In those days, when there was no printing, interpolation in a recognised classic seemed to correspond to inclusion in the national library. Divested of these accretions, the Mahabharata is a noble poem possessing in a supreme degree the characteristics of a true epic, great and fateful movement, heroic characters and stately diction. The characters in the epic move with the vitality of real life. It is difficult to find anywhere such vivid portraiture on so ample a canvas. Bhishma, the perfect knight; the venerable Drona; the vain but chivalrous Karna; Duryodhana, whose perverse pride is redeemed by great courage in adversity; the high souled Pandavas with godlike strength as well as power of suffering; Draupadi, most unfortunate of queens; Kunti, the worthy

mother of heroes; Gandhari, the devoted wife and sad mother of the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra, these are some of the immortal figures on that crowded, but never confused, canvas. Then there is great Krishna himself, most energetic of men, whose divinity scintillates through a cloud of very human characteristics. His high purposefulness pervades the whole epic. One can read even a translation and feel the over whelming power of the incomparable vastness and sublimity of the poem. The Mahabharata discloses a rich civilisation and a highly evolved society, which though of an older world, strangely resembles the India of our own time, with the same values and ideals. India was divided into a number of independent kingdoms. Occasionally, one king, more distinguished or ambitious than the rest, would assume the title of emperor, securing the acquiescence of other royalties, and signalised it by a great sacrificial feast. The adherence was generally voluntary. The assumption of imperial title conferred no overlordship. The emperor was only first among his peers. The art of war was highly developed and military prowess and skill were held in high esteem. We read in the Mahabharata of standardised phalanxes and of various tactical movements. There was an accepted code of honorable warfare, deviations from which met with reproof among Kshatriyas. The advent of the Kali age is marked by many breaches of these conventions in the Kurukshetra battle, on account of the bitterness of conflict, frustration and bereavements. Some of the most impressive passages in the epic center round these breaches of dharma. The population lived in cities and villages. The cities were the headquarters of kings

and their household and staff. There were beautiful palaces and gardens and the lives led were cultured and luxurious. There w trade in the cities, but the mass as of the people were agriculturists. Besides this urban and rural life, there was a very highly cultured life in the seclusion of forest recesses, centerd round ascetic teachers. These ashramas kept alive the bright fires of learning and spiritual thought. Young men of noble birth eagerly sought education at these ashramas. World-weary aged went there for peace. These centers of culture were cherished by the rulers of the land and not the proudest of them would dare to treat the members of the hermitages otherwise than with respect and consideration. Women were highly honored and entered largely in the lives of their husbands and sons. The caste system prevailed, but intercaste marriages were not unknown. Some of the greatest warriors in the Mahabharata were brahmanas. The Mahabharata has moulded the character and civilisation of one of the most numerous of the world's people. How did it fulfil, how is it still continuing to fulfil, this function? By its gospel of dharma, which like a golden thread runs through all the complex movements in the epic. By its lesson that hatred breeds hatred, that covetousness and violence lead inevitably to ruin, that the only real conquest is in the battle against one's lower nature. 1. GANAPATI, THE SCRIBE BHAGAVAN VYASA, the celebrated compiler of the Vedas, was the son of the great sage Parasara. It was he who gave to the world the divine epic of the Mahabharata. Having conceived the Mahabharata he thought of the means of giving the sacred story to the world. He meditated on Brahma, the Creator, who manifested

conducted a great sacrifice in the course of which Vaisampayana narrated the story at the request of the former. Janamejaya. Dhritarashtra and Pandu. "Lord Ganapati. But my pen must not stop while I am writing. when the memory of the learned was the sole repository of books. I should like to narrate it to you. Pandu committed a certain offence and had to resort to the forest with his two wives where he spent many years in penance. Vyasa first taught the great epic to his son." Ganapati replied: "Very well. Vyasa saluted him with bowed head and folded hands and prayed: "Lord. this story. guarding himself. I made an extensive pilgrimage to various sacred places and also visited the battlefield where the great battle described in the epic was fought. I have conceived an excellent work. the younger brother. Afterwards. Suta addressed the assembly: "I had the good fortune to hear the story of the Mahabharata composed by Vyasa to teach humanity dharma and the other ends of life. as told by Vaisampayana. he expounded it to many other disciples. the sage Suka. Later." Having said these words he disappeared. It is well known that the virtuous and learned Vaisampayana." At these words the ascetics eagerly gathered round him. I shall dictate the story of the Mahabharata and I pray you to be graciously pleased to write it down. Afterwards." He then proceeded to tell the whole story of the Mahabharata in the grand assembly. one of the chief disciples of Vyasa. Pandu. Vyasa received him with due respect and sought his aid. Kunti and Madri gave birth to five sons who became well known as the five Pandavas. Were it not so. ascended the throne. revealed the epic for the benefit of humanity. the Rakshasas and the Yakshas. After the death of the great King Santanu. During their stay in the forest. Tradition has it that Narada told the story of the Mahabharata to the devas while Suka taught it to the Gandharvas. In the course of his reign. Thus the Mahabharata came to be written by Ganapati to the dictation of Vyasa." Brahma extolled Vyasa and said: "O sage. I can only write on this condition?" Vyasa agreed. Chitrangada became King of Hastinapura and he was succeeded by Vichitravirya. So you must dictate without pause or hesitation. Suta continued: "I heard the main story of the Mahabharata and the episodic tales contained therein told by Vaisampayana at the sacrifice conducted by King Janamejaya.himself before him. the book might have been lost to future generations. I have now come here to meet you all. the son of the great King Parikshit. The latter had two sons. Pandu passed away . invoke Ganapati and beg him to be your amanuensis. however. I shall do as you wish. The elder of the two being born blind. but you must first grasp the meaning of what I dictate before you write it down. with a counter stipulation: "Be it so." Ganapati smiled and agreed to the condition. the two wives of Pandu. He would occasionally compose some complex stanzas which would make Ganapati pause a while to get at the meaning and Vyasa would avail himself of this interval to compose many stanzas in his mind. Then the sage began to sing the story of the Mahabharata. It was before the days of printing. The sage Vyasa meditated on Ganapati who appeared before him. was recited by Suta in the forest of Naimisa to an assembly of sages under the lead of the Rishi Saunaka. but cannot think of one who can take it down to my dictation.

War followed as a consequence. When they returned and demanded of Duryodhana their paternal heritage. who had in the meanwhile usurped their kingdom. defeated Yudhishthira. In this ancient and wonderful epic of our land there are many illustrative tales and sublime teachings. Finally Bhishma. The king earnestly offered for her love his kingdom. As a result. refused to return it. In a short time the Pandavas gained mastery over the Vedas and the Vedanta as well as over the various arts. whoever you may be. The Kauravas. the sons of the blind Dhritarashtra. or whence I come. became jealous of the Pandavas and tried to injure them in various ways. Often he wondered . The Pandavas ruled the kingdom for thirty-six years. nor must you ever be wroth with me on any account whatsoever. there was a game of dice between the Kauravas and the Pandavas according to the then prevailing Kshatriya code of honor. According to the conditions of the game. each newborn babe she took to the Ganges and cast into the river. You must not say anything displeasing to me." Thus said the great King Santanu to the goddess Ganga who stood before him in human form. attained the age of sixteen the rishis led them all back to Hastinapura and entrusted them to the old grandsire Bhishma. This is the substance of the story of the Mahabharata. It is. 2. DEVAVRATA "You must certainly become my wife. especially pertaining to the Kshatriyas. You must also not stand in the way of whatever I do. but suffered it all in silence. If you act otherwise. The sages brought up the five Pandavas during their early years. they transferred the crown to their grandson. his very life. intervened to bring about mutual understanding and peace between them. a living fountain of the ethics and culture of our Motherland. When Yudhishthira. the eldest. She gave birth to many children. intoxicating his senses with her superhuman loveliness. mindful of the promise be had made. I shall leave you then and there. The Pandavas defeated Duryodhana and regained their patrimony. and then returned to the king with a smiling face. Indraprastha and Hastinapura. Ganga replied: "O king. The heart of the king was captivated by her modesty and grace and the steady love she bore him. the head of the family. King Santanu and Ganga lived a life of perfect happiness. and repaired to the forest with Draupadi. his all. I shall become your wife. Santanu was filled with horror and anguish at such fiendish conduct. Some time later. Do you agree?" The infatuated king vowed his assent. the latter. the Pandavas had to be in exile for a period of thirteen years. They left the kingdom and went to the forest with their devoted wife Draupadi. oblivious of the passage of time.while they were still living in the forest. and she became his wife and lived with him. all clad humbly in barks of trees. his wealth. Accordingly the Pandavas and the Kauravas began to rule separately from their respective capitals. with the Ramayana. who played on behalf of the Kauravas. good or bad. Parikshit. Afterwards. the Pandavas spent twelve years in the forest and the thirteenth year incognito. besides the narrative of the fortunes of the Pandavas. Sakuni. The Mahabharata is in fact a veritable ocean containing countless pearls and gems. But on certain conditions that neither you nor anyone else should ever ask me who I am.

for your heart is set on your child. but the others will be freed from the curse as soon as born. When Vasishtha returned to his ashrama. When the Vasus came to know of the curse. For you will go to higher regions for this service you have done to the eight Vasus. willed that they should be born into the world of men. but every exercise of this power reduces their store of merit. because they were indispensable for his daily rituals. Vasishtha said: "The curse must needs take its course. Vasishtha cursed the eight Vasus to be born in the world of men. whose sole wealth was his austerity. will live long in the world in all glory. My words cannot prove ineffective. He replied: "What need have we. Prabhasa. They were all loud in praise of the graceful animal. It is for her sake that I make this request." Finally her husband yielded. for it is my dearest wish. It was this child who later became famous as Bhishma. They went for a holiday with their wives to a mountain tract where stood the hermitage of Vasishtha: One of them saw Vasishtha's cow. I shall not kill this child. wherefrom she had come and why she acted like a murderous witch. and one of them requested her husband to secure it for her. You must certainly do this for my sake. repentant too late. stop. am the goddess Ganga. Nandini. and his allmastering love for her. Is it worth our while incurring Vasishtha's wrath merely to satisfy a whim?" But she was not thus to be put off. I go. the devas. who am constrained to play this hateful role by the curse of Vasishtha. But this is no gain to us. the effect of which had been slightly impaired by his anger. Very soon he came to know by his yogic insight all that had taken place. I was to be their mother. All the Vasus joined together and took the cow and its calf away with them. "O great king. "you have forgotten your promise. The sage. who are already immortal. and moved by their supplications said. for the milk of cows? This cow belongs to the sage Vasishtha who is the master of the whole place. Before Vasishtha returns we shall have escaped with the cow. he uttered no word of blame or remonstrance." After saying these words the goddess disappeared with the child. "I have a dear companion in the mortal world. Sages who perform austerities acquire the power to curse. This was how the Vasus came to incur Vasishtha's curse. Thus she killed seven children. Vasishtha set his mind again on his austerities. I. but I shall soften the curse to this extent.who she was. adored of gods and men. he missed the cow and the calf. Man will certainly become immortal by drinking its milk. the Vasu who seized the cow. why are you bent on this horrid and unnatural murder of your own innocent babes?" With this outburst the king restrained her. For ." Afterwards. Its divinely beautiful form attracted him and he pointed it out to the ladies. Anger seized him and he uttered a curse against the Vasus. Still bound by his word. Santanu could not bear it any longer. grazing there." she replied. He cried: "Stop. and you do not need me any more. and well is it for you that it was so. I bore them to you. I shall bring up this last child of yours for some time and then return it to you as my gift. The Vasus felt relieved and approached the goddess Ganga and begged of her: "We pray you to become our mother. they threw themselves on the sage's mercy and implored forgiveness. but listen to my story before you judge me. When the eighth child was born and she was about to throw it into the Ganges.

and this was now pervading the whole forest. When the goddess Ganga left Santanu and disappeared with the eighth child. You are my only son and you are always preoccupied with military ambitions. the king could not make this promise. the daughter of the chief of the fishermen. the king. what you say is true. He therefore returned to his capital. One day he was wandering along the banks of the Ganges when he saw a boy endowed with the beauty and form of Devendra." The chief of the fisherfolk said: "The child born of this maiden should be the king after you. BHISHMA'S VOW WITH joy the king received to his heart and his kingdom the resplendent and youthful prince Devavrata and crowned him as the Yuvaraja. and disappeared. The father was an astute man. He asked her to be his wife. the son of Ganga. this is that eighth child I bore you. playing with the mighty river as a child with an indulgent mother. and is well versed in the arts and sciences known to Sukra. May it please you to ask him and get his consent. To the king who stood transfixed with amazement at the sight. It was a price that could not be thought of without shame." Then she blessed the boy." Though almost mad with passion." Santanu replied: "If it is a just promise I shall make it. The maiden said: "I am a fisherwoman. the king gave up all sensual pleasures and ruled the kingdom in a spirit of asceticism. as it meant setting aside the godlike Devavrata. sick with baffled desire. Why then are you so unhappy? How is it that you are like one pining away with a secret sorrow?" The king replied: "Dear son. Take back with you this child who is a great archer and hero as well as a master in statecraft. He has learnt the Vedas and the Vedanta from Vasishtha. One day Devavrata asked his father: "My father. there is no doubt that this maiden. From the moment the goddess Ganga left him. the king had kept his senses under control. Throw us into the water as soon as we are born and liberate us from the curse. the king of the gods. She said: "O king. One day as the king was wandering on the banks of the Yamuna. like every other. Life in the world is . who was entitled to the crown. handed him to his father. Four years went by. He has mastered the art of arms and equals Parasurama in prowess. came to the earth and became the wife of Santanu. A sage had conferred on her the boon that a divine perfume should emanate from her. His name is Devavrata." The goddess granted their prayer. and he traced it to a maiden so lovely that she seemed a goddess. I have brought him up till now. Still you have to make a promise to me before you can have her. the goddess Ganga revealed herself and presented the child as his own son." Her voice was sweet as her form. He did not reveal the matter to anyone and languished in silence. the heir apparent. I am indeed tortured with mental pain and anxiety. The child was amusing himself by casting a dam of arrows across the Ganges in flood. has to be married to someone and you are indeed worthy of her. 3. you have all that your heart could wish. Hastinapura.our sake we beseech you to descend to the earth and marry a worthy man. but the sight of this divinely beautiful maiden burst the bonds of restraint and filled him with an overmastering desire. the air was suddenly filled with a fragrance so divinely sweet that the king sought for its cause. He said: "O king.

you are equal to a hundred sons." and he took a vow to that effect. but how can I hope that the children born of you will renounce their birthright? Your sons will naturally be mighty heroes like you. And I renounce in his favor my right as heir apparent. hear with patience these words of mine which I say as the father of the girl. Bhishma lived long. Devavrata. You are indeed a hero. Then the son of Ganga led the maiden Satyavati to his father. You can yourself conduct my daughter to the king." The father prevaricated. He vowed with upraised arm to the father of the maiden: "I shall never marry and I dedicate myself to a life of unbroken chastity. It is this that stands in the way. honored by all as the grandsire until the end of the famous battle of Kurukshetra." "Bhishma" resounded in the air. If anything untoward befalls you our family will become extinct. born respectively of his two queens. The sons of Dhritarashtra. AMBA AND BHISHMA . your father. not proper that the perpetuation of our family should depends on a single life. Ambika and Ambalika. The Family Tree Santanu (by Ganga) (by Satyavati) Bhishma Chitrangada&Vichitravirya (by Ambika) (by Ambalika) Dhtitarashtra Pandu ? ? The Kauravas The Pandavas 4. He went to the chief of the fishermen and besought his daughter's hand on his father's behalf. The chief of the fishermen said: "O best of the Bharata race. who ascended the throne one after the other. you have done what no one else born of royal blood has you have done till now. made his supreme renunciation. were known as the Kauravas. "I have no doubt you will keep your word. but firm: "My daughter is indeed fit to be the king's spouse. Vichitravirya had two sons. This is the doubt that torments me. "Bhishma" means one who undertakes a terrible vow and fulfils it. Thewise Devavrata realised that there must be a secret cause for the mental condition of his father. Pandu had five sons who became famous as the Pandavas. Still. Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Then should not her son become king? But you have been crowned as the heir apparent and will naturally succeed your father." Devavrata replied: "I give you my word that the son born of this maiden shall be king. who was bent on fulfilling the king's desire. That name became the celebrated epithet of Devavrata from that time. Dhritarashtra and Pandu. Still." When he heard this knotty question posed by the girl's father." And as he uttered these words of renunciation the gods showered flowers on his head. and cries of "Bhishma. Two sons were born of Satyavati to Santanu. a hundred in number. The fisherman was respectful. being ashamed to reveal the whole story to his son. those who are well read in the scriptures say that in this transitory world having but one son is the same as having no son at all. This is the cause of my anguish. and questioning the king's charioteer came to know of his meeting with the fishermaiden on the banks of the Yamuna. and above all things I desire the perpetuation of our family.uncertain and wars are incessant. It is. and will be hard to resist if they seek to seize the kingdom by force. Of course.

as my husband. And taking the three princesses in his chariot he set out for Hastinapura. Amba then turned to Bhishma and she sought him to marry her himself as there was no other recourse. They did not know that he had really come for the sake of his brother. Knowing this. the two younger sisters. as Bhishma was a peerless bowman. Kalinga and other princes and potentates had also repaired to Kasi for the swayamvara. Return to him and do as he commands. and no wonder. Pundra. But before he had gone far. the son of Satyavati. But when they found that he was also a suitor. For that princess had mentally chosen Salva as her husband. Amba smiled mockingly at Bhishma and addressed him as follows: "O son of Ganga. It was impossible . The princesses were so far-famed for beauty and accomplishments that there was fierce competition to win them. But Vichitravirya roundly refused to marry a maiden whose heart had already been given to another. learned in the scriptures. was the rightful heir and was duly crowned king. the king of the Saubala country who was attached to Amba. with Vichitravirya was duly solemnised." With these words Salva sent her back to Bhishma. You have brought me here by force. Bhishma has sent me to you. The rulers of Kosla. you are aware of what is enjoined in the scriptures. After a bitter fight Salva was worsted. Vanga. The marriage of Ambika and Ambalika. was killed in battle with a Gandharva. intercepted and opposed him. As he died childless. Amba went rejoicing to Salva and told him what had happened: "I have mentally chosen you as my husband from the very start. his brother. the young princes felt themselves let down and were full of chagrin. When all were assembled for the marriage. But at the request of the princesses Bhishma spared his life. the king of Saubala." Salva replied: "Bhishma defeated me in sight of all. Arriving in Hastinapura with the princesses. I have been disgraced. Marry me according to the sastras. When Vichitravirya reached adolescence Bhishma cast about for a bride for him. What has this old man to do with this swayamvara? Fie on him!" The princesses who were to choose their husbands barely glanced at the old man and looked away. Salva. should do. The grandsire tried to induce Vichitravirya to marry her. And as he heard that the daughters of the king of Kasi were to choose theirhusbands according to the ancient Kshatriya practice he went there to secure them for his brother. do what you. Bhishma's wrath flamed up. At first everyone thought that the redoubtable hero had come merely to witness the festivities of the swayamvara. Bhishma was famous among the Kshatriyas as a mighty man-at-arms. And as he was a minor. She returned to Hastinapura and told Bhishma of what had taken place. The princes began to cast affronts at Bhishma: "This most excellent and wise descendant of the Bharata race forgets that he is too old and forgets also his vow of celibacy." Bhishma admitted the force of her objection and sent her to Salva with proper escort. I cannot receive you now as my wife. Bhishma made preparations for their marriage to Vichitravirya. Vichitravirya. I have mentally chosen Salva. Vichitravirya. Bhishma governed the kingdom in his name till be came of age.CHITRANGADA. attired in their best. and carried you away. He challenged the assembled princes to a trial of their manhood and defeated them all. So.

And after some vain attempts to make Vichitravirya change his mind. she went to Salva and found him adamant in refusal. Her father Drupada was in consternation at her temerity which he feared would draw on his head the wrath of Bhishma. Bhishma knew that Sikhandin was born as female. she went to King Drupada who also refused to grant her prayer. Some ascetics whom she met there and to whom she told her sorrowful tale advised her to go to Parasurama as a suppliant. He told Amba: "I have done all that I could and I have failed. and for long years she abode in Hastinapura. She then hung the garland at Drupada's palace gate and went away to the forest. She sought in vain for a champion among the princes to fight and kill Bhishma and thus avenge her wrongs but even the foremost warriors were afraid of Bhishma and paid no heed to her appeal. she saw the garland of never-fading flowers that still hung at the palace gate and had remained there untouched by anyone through fear. sorry as he was for Amba. He graciously appeared before her and gave her a garland of ever-fresh lotuses. and kept alive only by the passion for revenge. With Sikhandin as his charioteer. The lotus-eyed Amba spent six bitter years in sorrow and baffled hope. saying that the wearer of that garland would become the enemy of Bhishma. The only boon I seek is the death of Bhishma. By the grace of Lord Siva. This at first she was too proud to do. he told her there was no way left to her but to go again to Salva and seek to persuade him. I do not wish it. and true to . On hearing her sad story. that in her next birth she would slay Bhishma. And her heart was seared with suffering and all the sweetness in her turned to gall and fierce hatred towards Bhishma as the cause of her blighted life. Amba was impatient for that rebirth which would give her heart's desire. But no one had the hardihood to antagonise Bhishma. espoused her cause and fought with Bhishma. Arjuna attacked Bhishma on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.for Bhishma to break his vow. Throw yourself on the mercy of Bhishma. A few years after her birth. But in the end Parasurama had to acknowledge defeat. She made a pyre and plunged into the fire pouring out the flame in her heart into the scarcely hotter blaze of the pyre." Parasurama moved as much by her anguish as by his abiding hatred of the Kshatriya race. Amba took the garland and again be sought every Kshatriya to accept the garland gift of the six-faced Lord and to champion her cause. in sheer desperation. At last. what do you want? I can ask Salva to marry you if you wish it. Finally. She practised austerities in the forest and in time was transformed into a male and became known as the warrior Sikhandin." Amba said: "No. He sent his daughter in exile out of the capital to the forest. Amba was born as the daughter of King Drupada. It was a long and equal combat between the two greatest men-at-arms of the age. Amba went to the Himalayas and practised rigorous austerities to get the grace of Siva. she resorted to hard austerities to get the grace of Lord Subrahmanya. She followed their advice." Consumed with grief and rage. Siva appeared before her and granted her a boon. That is the only course left to you. Parasurama was moved with compassion and said: "Dear child. Finally. now that all human aid had failed her. She put it round her neck. There is now but one thing in life for me. revenge on Bhishma. I no longer desire marriage or home or happiness.

Devayani. and besought his aid. tore him to pieces and cast his flesh to the dogs. Kacha went to the house of Sukra. they became anxious as they suspected that Kacha's object was somehow to wheedle out of Sukracharya the secret of Sanjivini. They naturally sought to prevent such a calamity. while the asuras relied on Sukracharya's profound wisdom. Sukracharya had a lovelydaughter. the grandson of the sage Angiras and the son of Brihaspati. I fear some mishap has befallen Kacha. I accept you as my pupil. rendering to perfection the prescribed duties in the household of his master." Kacha spent many years under Sukracharya." she wailed. and ran to her father with loud lamentations: "The sun has set. you belong to a good family. DEVAYANI AND KACHA IN ancient times. he told her that as he was grazing the cattle the asuras came suddenly on him and slew . "and your nightly fire sacrifice has been performed. Devayani was filled with anxiety. So Sukra acceded and said: "Kacha. there was a bitter struggle between the devas or gods and the asuras or demons for the lordship of the three worlds. 5. The devas were thus at a great disadvantage in their long drawn-out war with their natural foes. and continued their fight with the devas." So fell this great warrior. Asked by Devayani the reason for his delay. still Kacha has not returned home. The cattle have come back by themselves. Both belligerents had illustrious preceptors. and after due salutation. They went to Kacha. Brihaspati who was pre-eminent in the knowledge of the Vedas was the guiding spirit of the devas. Thus the asuras who had fallen in the battle were brought back to life." It was the law that the wise teacher should not refuse a worthy pupil who sought knowledge of him. he was to acquire. One day. They begged him to win his way into the good graces of Sukracharya and persuade him to take him as a pupil. Once admitted to intimacy and confidence. the king of the asuras. I am a brahmacharin seeking knowledge under your tutelage. especially because Bhishma knew that his long and weary probation on earth was finished and consented to be vanquished. he singled out those which had pierced him deepest and said: "This is Arjuna's arrow and not Sikhandin's. Kacha acceded to their request and set out to meet Sukracharya who lived in the capital city of Vrishaparva. time and again. that by doing so I shall also be showing my respect for Brihaspati. So it was that Arjuna could fight screened by Sikhandin and conquer Bhishma. without detriment however to the vows of brahmacharya. of whom he was extremely fond. When the asuras came to know of this. The asuras had the formidable advantage that Sukracharya alone possessed the secret of Sanjivini which could recall the dead to life. As the arrows struck Bhishma in his last fight. as Kacha was engaged in grazing the cattle of his master the asuras seized him.his code of chivalry he would not fight him under any circumstance. the more willingly." The fond father employed the art of Sanjivini and invoked the dead youth to appear. the son of Brihaspati. by fair means or foul. Kacha devoted himself to pleasing and serving her with song and dance and pastime and succeeded in winning her affection. I cannot live without him. the secret of Sanjivini and remove the great handicap under which the devas suffered. At once Kacha came back to life and greeted the master with smiles. addressed him thus: "I am Kacha. When the cattle returned without Kacha.

Sukracharya. but prevented by the peculiarity of his location from coming out. Vaisampayana continued: "The highsouled and austere Sukracharya of immeasurable greatness. and now that he has been killed. he could only answer to his name from where he was. For if either of you perish. death is the common lot." Devayani began to weep and said: "Alas! It is death to me either way. I shall therefore follow in his path. became very angry with the asuras. For the third time again. On another occasion Kacha went to the forest to pluck flowers for Devayani. how did you get into me? Is this also the work of the asuras? This is really too bad and makes me feel like killing the asuras immediately and joining the devas. but come back to life he did." said he. burnt his body. and there he was. Once more the cows returned home without their keeper. and again the asuras seized and killed him. I now see with what object you came and verily you have secured it! I must bring you out to life for the sake of Devayani." Devayani deeply loved Kacha. Your life is all before you to enjoy. and once again Devayani approached her father with her distressful appeal for Kacha. He said to Kacha: "O son of Brihaspati. As he did not return even after a long time Devayani went as before to her father who brought Kacha back to life by his Sanjivini. and since the world began.him. life to me has become bleak and insupportable. in spite of the inconvenience imposed by his position. For Kacha to live. mixed the ashes in wine and served it to Sukracharya who drank it. which should be regarded as an imperative scriptural injunction. suspecting nothing. He employed the Sanjivini art and called upon Kacha to appear. How he came back to life he knew not. The real explanation of it all flashed on him. She said: "Kacha. This is my message to humanity.' Then he turned to his daughter Devayani and said: Dear daughter. and pounding his body to a paste. became angry at the deceit practised on him in his wine. he must rend my stomach and come out of it. mixed it up in sea-water. here is a problem for you. wise words have never cured the ache of bereavement. By the power of the Sanjivini Kacha dispersed as he was in the wine which was inside Sukracharya's body at the time. the grandson of Angiras and the son of Brihaspati." Sukracharya sought a way out of the difficulty. with youth and beauty and the goodwill of the world. Well. "the asuras seem bent upon killing him. was a blameless boy. heart-stricken by his daughter's sorrow. The only way is to initiate you in the art of Sanjivini so that you can bring . He will be an object of scorn to all. and felt that the heinous sin of killing a brahmana would weigh heavily on their fortunes. Sukracharya exclaimed in angry amazement: "O brahmacharin. Sukracharya tried in vain to console his daughter. and that means death to me. and proclaimed for the benefit of humanity: 'Virtue will desert the man who through lack of wisdom drinks wine. but equally for her sake I must not die either." And Devayani began to fast. and heard from him all that had taken place." Kacha narrated it all. regained life. and it is not proper for a wise soul like you to sorrow at it. His life can only be bought by my death. the Asuras killed Kacha and very cleverly as they thought. But tell me the whole story. "Though I have again and again brought back Kacha to life. I loved him dearly. I shall not survive. who was devoted and tireless in our service.

to ask me to wed you. 6." said she. the daughter of the king. Brihaspati as well as yourself are fully worthy of being honored by me. my sister. he took leave of his master to return to the world of the gods. pleasantly tired with sporting in the woods Devayani and the daughters of Vrishaparva. you are my master's daughter and ever worthy of my respect. The latter was vexed and exclaimed half in jest at the impropriety of the daughter of a disciple wearing the clothes of the master's daughter. even while you were faithfully following your vows of a brahmacharin. while you come of a race which begs and . As he was about to depart Devayani humbly addressed him thus: "O. while the great preceptor fell down mangled and dead. my master Sukracharya. But Kacha said: "O faultless one. But I am your brother. I got back my life by being born out of your father's body. You should now reciprocate my love and make me happy by marrying me. your great attainments and nobility of birth. flushed as you are with anger. "and not of my father. But Kacha at once brought Sukracharya back to life by means of his newly acquired Sanjivini. "You are the son of Brihaspati. the king of gods. Pray bid me adieu." Kacha replied: "Do not seek to persuade me to unrighteousness. These words were spoken half in jest. king of the asuras. I have loved you long and tenderly. you have won my heart by your blameless life. went to bathe in the cool waters of a sylvan pool." With these words Kacha gently disengaged himself and proceeded to the abode of Indra. THE MARRIAGE OF DEVAYANI ONE warm afternoon. If I have been the cause of your coming back to life. When the period of his vow ended. grandchild of Angiras. Kacha bowed down to Sukracharya and said: "The teacher who imparts wisdom to the ignorant is a father." Devayani sought in vain to persuade him. as I have issued from your body you are my mother too. You are enchanting more so now than ever. clad herself in Devayani's clothes. Besides. You should employ the knowledge I am going to impart to you and revive me. Sukracharya consoled his daughter." Kacha remained for many more years under the tutelage of Sukracharya. it was no uncommon thing for wise and learned brahmana ladies to speak out their mind with honorable frankness. but the princess Sarmishtha became very angry and said arrogantly: "Do you not know that your father humbly bows in reverence to my royal father every day? Are you not the daughter of a beggar who lives on my father's bounty? You forget I am of the royal race which proudly gives. " In those days. it was because I loved you as indeed I have always loved you as my husband. depositing their garlands on the bank before they entered its waters. Immediately Kacha came forth from Sukracharya's body. emerging like the full moon from a cloud. some mistakes naturally occurred. A strong breeze blew their clothes together into a huddled heap and when they came to take them up again. ever and always. It so happened that princess Sarmishtha. Serve unto perfection. It is not fit that you should give up one like me sinless and devoted to you. It is not proper for you. so that Devayani need not grieve for either of us. Hence I am your brother.me back to life after I shall have died when a way is torn out through my entrails for you." Accordingly Sukracharya imparted the art of Sanjivini to Kacha.

He does not know that I have fallen into the well. he saw something bright. leave alone my merits and faults." Having said these words Yayati went back to his capital. who is worthy to be the preceptor of the whole world. Hence anuloma or the practice of marrying men of higher castes was legitimate and the reverse practice.e. which are after all my own concern. Devayani said: "Friend. The asura maidens thought that Devayani had lost her life and returned to the palace. She replied in sorrow and anger: "Father. A kshatriya maiden could marry a brahmana. She remained sunk in sorrow in the shade of a tree in forest. He asked: "Who are you. Devayani had not been killed by the fall into the well but was in a sad plight because she could not climb up the steep sides. she slapped me and threw me . Yayati seized her hand and helped her out of the well.receives. he said: "It is by their own actions. he tried to console her. I am a kshatriya and you are a brahmana maiden. return home. O beautiful maiden with bright earrings and ruddy nails? Who is your father? What is your ancestry? How did you fall into the well?" She replied: "I am the daughter of Sukracharya. And she asked her what had happened. She told Yayati: "You have held a maiden by her right hand. as she pondered again and again on Sarmishtha's conduct. Devayani did not wish to return to the capital of the king of the asuras. Lift me up" and she held forth her hands. I feel that you are in every way worthy to be my husband. She did not feel it safe to go there. getting angrier and angrier as she spoke till. and you dare to speak thus to me. that men are happy or miserable. the daughter of Vrishaparva. go at once and tell my father that I will not set m foot in the y capital of Vrishaparva" and she sent her back to Sukracharya. The messenger after a weary search came on her at last near the tree where she was sitting in dejection. according to the ancient tradition. Sukracharya loved Devayani more than his life. Extremely grieved at the sad plight of his daughter Sukracharya hurried to her. known as pratiloma. marrying men of a lower caste. submit to be the wife of a kshatriya like myself? Revered lady. Devayani had no mind to return home. How can I marry you? How can the daughter of Sukracharya. her eyes red with anger and grief. right when she told me you were but a minstrel singing the praises of kings? She called me the daughter of a mendicant living on the doles won by flattery. Emperor Yayati of the Bharata race who was hunting in the forest by a happy chance came to this spot in search of water to slake his thirst." Sarmishtha went on. was Sarmishtha. but it was considered wrong for a brahmana maiden to marry a kshatriya. and looking closer." Yayati replied: "Loving soul. The important thing was to keep the racial status of women unlowered. was prohibited by the sastras. After waiting long in vain for the return of his daughter who had gone to play with her companions. When he glanced into the well. good or bad. The virtues or vices of others will not affect us in the least. But tell me this. she finally slapped Devayani on the cheek and pushed her into a dry well." With these words of wisdom. i. working herself up into a fit of anger. he sent a woman in search of her. Not content with this arrogant contumely. and you must marry her. Caressing her. he was surprised to find a beautiful maiden lying in the well.

I shall enter fire and die. is a real hero." And Devayani began to weep. He who never gets angry is superior to the ritualist who faith fully performs for a hundred years the sacrifices ordained by scripture." he said with dignity. though one's sins may not bring immediate punishment they are sure. the king of the gods. she was pushed into a well by your daughter. Kacha. friends.into a pit which was nearby. "you are not the daughter of a court minstrel. it is not proper to live with persons who have no sense of decency or decorum. for she is the one thing I have and dearer to me than life itself. Your attendants tried to kill him. scalds may heal gradually. The wise will not take to heart the words of boys and girls. was a brahmacharin who had conquered his senses and never committed any sin. Yet. So. He who. Let us go home. However rich they may be. She cannot any more stay in your kingdom. bringing prosperity to your family." Vrishaparva and his retinue went to the tree under which Devayani stood and they threw themselves at her feet in supplication. will realise his aim. I cannot stay in any place within her father's territory. but. who patiently puts up with the abuse of his neighbors. you are a peerless gem among women. He served me with fidelity and never strayed from the path of virtue. The virtuous should not mix with them. virtue and truth abandon the man who gives way to anger. controls his anger. Otherwise I go. sooner or later. Sukracharya drew himself up proudly: "Devayani. He who is not moved despite the greatest torments inflicted by others. children. Arise. If you can appease her. knows this. Besides. the illmannered are really the veritable chandalas outside the pale of caste. Devayani was stubborn and said: "Sarmishtha who told me that I was the daughter of a beggar. But no worthy man extols his own merits. and Vrishaparva is not ignorant of his debt to me. brothers. I hope. He who sheds his anger just as a snake its slough. If you abandon me. but wounds inflicted by words remain painful as long as one lives. is indeed a charioteer and not he who merely holds the reins. to destroy the very germ of prosperity. The wounds inflicted by weapons may close in time." . Your father does not live on the wages of flattery. Indra. the son of Brihaspati." Sukracharya went to Vrishaparva and fixing his eyes on him gravely said: "O king. who holds her honor high. My daughter. The wise will not keep company with those who speak ill of their family. Servants. should become my handmaiden and attend on me in the house into which my father gives me in marriage. as a horseman breaks an unruly horse." Devayani humbly told her father: "I am indeed a little girl. Be patient. My mind is ablaze with the anger roused by the taunts of Vrishaparva's daughter." In this context Bhagavan Vyasa advises humanity in general in the following words of counsel addressed by Sukracharya to his daughter: "He conquers the world. You are the daughter of one who is reverenced by all the world. had to hear dishonoring words uttered by your daughter. not too young to benefit by the great truth taught by you. Without her I cannot live here either. and I shall say no more about myself." At these words the king of the asuras was sorely troubled and said: "I am ignorant of the charges laid at my door. wife. I bore it. I am going out of your kingdom. it is well and good." Sukracharya replied: "I care more for the happiness of my daughter than for the fate of you and your asuras. but lets the horse go whither it would.

He had five beautiful sons. who found himself suddenly an old man. Yayati and Devayani spent many days in happiness. not knowing what was in store for me I lived a life of restraint. he became prematurely old by the curse of Sukracharya for having wronged his wife Devayani. I will be her attendant. women and servants will mock at me if I were to take upon myself your old age. The sastras. Ask of my younger brothers who are dearer to you than myself. he gently refused with the words: "Father.Vrishaparva consented and asked his attendants to fetch his daughter Sarmishtha. Yayati again repeated his objection that he. I cannot do go." Thus he blessed Yayati and bade him farewell. prescribe what is right and forbid what is wrong but a marriage once effected cannot be made invalid. He had never known defeat. Sarmishtha remained with her as an attendant. She repeated her request that he should take her as his wife since he had clasped her right hand. I desire to enjoy life in the full vigor of youth. was still haunted by the desire for sensual enjoyment. Yayati. He followed the dictates of the sastras. you have lost the glory which is youth. could not lawfully marry a brahmana. a kshatriya. In the words of the poet of the Mahabharata: "Yayati attained that old age which destroys beauty and brings on miseries. no doubt." When the second son was approached. YAYATI EMPEROR Yayati was one of the ancestors of the Pandavas. where the horrors of loss are accentuated by pangs of recollection. But as has already been told. begged so humbly for forgiveness that Sukracharya. Sarmishtha admitted her fault and bowed in submission. Yayati. adored the gods and venerated his ancestors with intense devotion." It is needless to describe the misery of youth suddenly blighted into age. But Devayani came to know of it and was naturally very angry. She complained to her father and Sukracharya in his rage cursed Yayati with premature old age. My father shall not lose his preceptor for a fault committed by me." He first asked his eldest son." Devayani was pacified and returned to her house with her father. thus suddenly stricken with age in the very prime of his manhood. all virtuous and accomplished. Finally they both went to Sukracharya and got his assent to their marriage. The curse cannot be recalled. He who agrees to this and bestows his youth on me will be the ruler of my kingdom. On another occasion also Devayani came across Yayati. One of you ought to bear the burden of my old age and give his youth in return. denying myself even lawful pleasures. She said: "Let it be as my companion Devayani desires. 7. For. I have not had my fill of the joys of life. This is an instance of the pratiloma marriage which was resorted to on exceptional occasions. One day Sarmishtha met Yayati in secret and earnestly prayed to betaken also as his wife. you ask me to take up old age that . He said: "O king. He yielded to her prayer and married her without the knowledge of Devayani. Yayati called them and appealed piteously to their affection: "The curse of your grandfather Sukracharya has made me unexpectedly and prematurely old. who had not forgotten Devayani's rescue from the well. He became famous as a ruler devoted to the welfare of his subjects. at last relented. but if you can persuade anyone to exchange his youth for your age the exchange will take effect. That son replied: "O great king.

It is too hard a trial! If you will take upon yourself these infirmities. corn. The fugitives entered the ashrama thinking that it would be a convenient place to hide themselves in. We can reach peace only by a mental poise beyond likes and dislikes. he said: "Dear son. They placed their booty in a corner and hid themselves. An old man had to seek the help of others even to keep his body clean." Hearing these words Yayati embraced him. a band of robbers fled through the woods with officers of the king in hot pursuit." The third son replied: "An old man cannot ride a horse or an elephant. I am afflicted with this old age with its wrinkles. I gladly give you my youth and relieve you of the sorrows of old age and cares of state. ruled the kingdom and acquired great renown. the truth dawned on him." The king was angry and disappointed that his three sons had declined to do as he wished." Puru. Yayati was struck with sorrow at the refusal of the four sons. If you exchange your youth with me. Still. Such is the state of Brahman. said: "Father. No object of desire. After long years spent in vain efforts to quench desire by indulgence. hoping against hope. What can I do in such a helpless plight? I cannot agree. I shall enjoy life for just a while more and then give you back your youth and resume my old age and all its sorrows. the youngest son. The commander of the soldiers asked Mandavya. Pray. was made king by Yayati who retired to the forest. do not refuse as your elder brothers have done. As soon as he touched his son.destroys not only strength and beauty but also as I see wisdom." The fourth son begged to be forgiven as this was a thing he could by no means consent to. Puru. I shall give it back to you after some time and take back the old age with which I have been cursed. Be happy. he supplicated his last son who had never yet opposed his wishes: "You must save me. but till now I had not realised it. debility and grey hairs as a result of the curse of Sukracharya. to whom he said: "You should take up my old age. One day while he was immersed in silent contemplation under the shade of a tree outside his hut of leaves." With these words Yayati took his old age. who regained his youth. I am not strong enough to do so. Puru. sensual desire is never quenched by indulgence any more than fire is by pouring ghee in it. attained heaven. in due course. 8. No. a most pitiful plight. cattle or women. Returning to Puru. who accepted the old age of his father. moved by filial love. VIDURA THE sage Mandavya who had acquired strength of mind and knowledge of the scriptures. I had heard and read this. nothing can ever satisfy the desire of man. went later to the garden of Kubera and spent many years with an Apsara maiden. Take back your youth and rule the kingdom wisely and well. gold. Yayati enjoyed life for long. Yayati became a youth. His speech will falter. and not satisfied. who was rapt in deep meditation in a tone of peremptory command: "Did you see the robbers pass by? Where did they go? Reply at once so . He spent his time there in austerities and. spent his days in penance and the practice of truth. The soldiers of the king came to the ashrama tracking their footsteps. He lived in a hermitage in the forests on the outskirts of the city. but he hoped for better from his fourth son. much as he loved his father he could not do it.

Vidura fell at his feet and protested solemnly: "O king and lord. When Dhritarashtra gave his. good or bad. the better to deceive the world. Mandavya was not angry with the king. He is indeed the chief of these robbers. the divine dispenser of justice. remained silent. Vyasa has it that no one in the three worlds could equal Vidura in virtue and knowledge. The commander returned to the hermitage. Bhishma appointed him. He hastened to the forest with his attendants and at once ordered the sage to be taken down from the spear. you have tortured birds and bees. while he was still in his teens. Pray. to be impaled. do not allow this. good or evil?" Mandavya was surprised at this reply of Lord Dharma and asked: "When did I commit this offence?" Lord Dharma replied: "When you were a child. therefore. The great men of the world regarded Vidura as a mahatma who was unparalleled in his knowledge of dharma. He has inspired this robbery. impaled Mandavya on a spear and handed over the stolen things to the king. I cannot approve of this action. The virtuous sage." Then he ordered his soldiers to guard the place. In the meantime some of the attendants entered the ashrama and discovered the stolen goods lying there. This story is intended to show that Vidura was the incarnation of Dharma. Strife will set in among your sons as a result. All of them went in and found the stolen goods and the robbers who were in hiding. as a mortal in the world. have inflicted this punishment.that we may give chase and capture them. They reported this to their commander. The king was very angry at the audacity of the chief of the robbers who had put on the garb of a brahmana sage." ." Mandavya then pronounced a curse on Dharma: "This punishment you have decreed is far in excess of the deserts of a mistake committed by a child in ignorance. inevitably produce their results. and asked him: "What crime have I committed to deserve this torture?" Lord Dharma. sastras and statesmanship and was totally devoid of attachment and anger. He went straight to Dharma. But the sage did not hear anything. went to the king and told him that the sage Mandavya had been caught with the stolen goods. as he thought him. The commander thought: "Now I know the reason why the brahmana pretended to be a silent sage. who protect the world. the wife of Vichitravirya. Are you not aware that all deeds. who was seated on his throne. though impaled on the spear. Be born. replied in all humility: "O sage. Then he prostrated at his feet and prayed humbly to be forgiven for the offence unwittingly committed. The commander repeated the question insolently." The sage. as the chief counsellor of king Dhritarashtra. did not die. however small. permission for the game of dice. Without pausing to verify the facts. Sages who lived in other parts of the forest came to his hermitage and asked Mandavya how he came to be in that terrible pass. who was absorbed in yoga. Since he was in yoga when he was impaled he remained alive by the power of yoga." The king was surprised and frightened when he heard that the impaled sage was still alive and that he was surrounded by the other sages of the forest. he ordered the wicked criminal." Lord Dharma who was thus cursed by the sage Mandavya incarnated as Vidura and was born of the servant-maid of Ambalika. who knew the great power of the sage. Mandavya replied: "Whom shall I blame? The servants of the king.

I am not fit for motherhood and do not desire it. She for her part was mortally afraid of being blamed by the world. After the birth of the child. he became one of the world's greatest heroes. and under cover of them the Sun god approached the beautiful princess Kunti and stood gazing at her with ardent soul scorching admiration." But the Sun god could not thus return because the power of the mantra held him. the son of the Sun god. At once the sky grew dark with clouds.'' Kunti conceived by the grace of the Sun. He was so pleased with her that he gave her a divine mantra. was a worthy scion of the Yadava race. Kunti. Kunti once again became a virgin as a result of the boon granted by the Sun. He said to him: "Do not proceed with this game. was surprised and delighted to see within it a gorgeously beautiful child. the giver of light and life to all the world. who art thou?" The Sun replied: "Dear maiden. the grandfather of Sri Krishna. From that time she was known by the name of Kunti after her adoptive father. When the time came for giving Kunti in marriage. Since his cousin Kuntibhoja was childless. asked: "O god. He handed it over to his wife who lavished a mother's love on it. Thus Karna. She wondered what she should do with the child. overpowered by the glorious vision of her divine visitor. Divine births take place immediately without the nine months weary course of mortal gestation. came to be brought up as a charioteer's child." Kunti was aghast and said: "I am an unwedded girl dependent on my father." But Duryodhana did not heed this advice. She gave birth to Karna who was born with divine armor and earrings and was bright and beautiful like the Sun. The Sun god however reassured her: "No blame shall attach to you. he will manifest himself to you and bless you with a son equal to him in glory. After bearing my son. I merely wished to test the power of the boon granted by the sage Durvasa. and taking it. Sura gave his daughter Pritha in adoption to him. patience and devotion. I have been drawn to you by the spell of the son-giving mantra that you have uttered.Dhritarashtra also tried in manly ways to dissuade his wicked son. I am the Sun. 9. A childless charioteer happened to see the floating case. To hide her fault she placed the child in a sealed box and set it afloat in a river. Go back and forgive this childish folly of mine. His daughter Pritha was noted for her beauty and virtues." He granted her this boon because he foresaw by his yogic power the misfortune that was in store for her future husband. the wise Vidura of lofty intellect who is ever intent on our welfare. Vidura does not approve of it. you will regain virginity. Carried away by his doting fondness for his son. In time. the sage Durvasa stayed for a time as a guest in her father's house and she served the sage for a year with all care. Dhritarashtra surrendered his better judgment and sent to Yudhishthira the fateful invitation to the game. Kuntibhoja invited all the neighboring princes and held a . The impatient curiosity of youth made Kunti test then and there the efficacy of the mantra by repeating it and invoking the Sun whom she saw shining in the heavens. When Kunti was a little girl. He said: "If you call upon any god repeating this mantra. KUNTI DEVI SURA. He says the game is bound to result in a fierceness of hate which will consume us and our kingdom.

BHIMA . You need not wait to see the miseries and misfortunes that will befall this race. the sister of the king of Madra." Pandu was heartbroken at this curse and retreated to the forest with his wives after entrusting his kingdom to Bhishma and Vidura and lived there a life of perfect abstinence. Vidura. whose personality eclipsed the lustre of all the other princes assembled there. Pandu shot the male with an arrow. It was springtime. She burnt herself on the pyre of her husband entreating Kunti to remain and be a mother to her doubly orphaned children. The marriage was duly solemnised and she accompanied her husband to his capital Hastinapur. In the old days the kings took two or three wives for making sure of progeny and not for mere sensual desire. These three aged queens passed through holy asceticism to the higher regions of bliss and spared themselves the sorrows of their children. creepers. It will be good for you to leave the city and spend the rest of your days in a hermitage in the forest. A sage and his wife were also sporting in the forest in the guise of deer. And one day Pandu and Madri forgot their sorrows in the rapture of sympathy with the throbbing life around them. King Pandu lived for many years in the forest with his wives and children. DEATH OF PANDU ONE day King Pandu was out hunting. Madri could not contain her sorrow. The sages of the forest took the bereaved and grief-stricken Kunti and the Pandavas to Hastinapura and entrusted them to Bhishma. All the people in the kingdom lamented as at a personal loss. He urged Kunti and Madri to use the mantra and thus it was that the five Pandavas were born of the gods t Kunti o and Madri. which the rishi’s curse had denied him. the grandmother: "The past has gone by pleasantly. sin. They were born and brought up in the forest among ascetics. Dhritarashtra and others performed the funeral rites. Bhishma. Since she felt that she was responsible for the death of the king. in ignorance of the fact that it was a sage in disguise. Seeing that Pandu was desirous of offspring." Satyavati agreed and went to the forest with Ambika and Ambalika. The world has passed its youth like a happy dream and it is now entering on disillusionment. 10. On the advice of Bhishma and in accordance with the prevailing custom. and at once the curse of t e sage h took effect and Pandu fell. but the future has many sorrows in store. Time is inexorable. Pandu took a second wife Madri.swayamvara for her to choose her husband. Vyasa. the happy flowers. 11. the whole kingdom was plunged in sorrow. Kunti placed the garland on the neck of King Pandu. Stricken to death the rishi thus cursed Pandu: "Sinner. you will meet with death the moment you taste the pleasures of the bed. When the sages came to Hastinapura and reported the death of Pandu in the forest. Yudhishthira was but sixteen years old at that time. dead. Many eager suitors flocked to the swayamvara as the princess was widely famed for her great beauty and virtue. Vyasa said to Satyavati. Kunti confided to him the story of the mantra she had received from Durvasa. the bright representative of the Bharata race. birds and other creatures of the forest. sorrow and suffering. In spite of Madri’s earnest and repeated protests Pandu’s resolution broke down under the exhilarating influence of the season.

The poisonous food he had taken was counteracted by the snake poison and Bhima came to no harm. imprison Arjuna and Yudhishthira. Duryodhana thought that Bhima must have died as he had been thrown in the river infested with poisonous snakes and planted with spikes. His anxious question brought forth the reply that Bhima had not yet returned. And he went again with his brothers to the forest and searched everywhere. which made Yudhishthira suspect some foul play against his brother. would in course of time become king. he felt drowsy and lay down on the bank of the river. and lose his life. He used to bully Duryodhana and the other Kauravas by dragging them by the hair and beating them. the river washed him to a bank. Small wonder that the sons of Dhritarashtra nursed a deep hatred for Bhima from their very infancy. the heir-apparent. Duryodhana bound him with wild creepers and threw him into the river. So Duryodhana went with his brothers and the Pandavas for a swim in the Ganges. But Bhima could not be found. When Yudhishthira inquired about the whereabouts of Bhima. As the princes grew up. and presently. to prevent Yudhishthira's accession to the throne. This was done purposely so that Bhima might in falling be impaled on the spikes. Yudhishthira believed Duryodhana and as soon as he returned home. After the sports they slept in their tents being exhausted. Duryodhana thought that as his blind father was quite helpless he must. Poisonous water-snakes bit his body. he would dive.THE five sons of Pandu and the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra grew up in mirth and merriment at Hastinapura. Sometime later Bhima awoke and trudged wearily back home. Duryodhana's jealousy towards Bhima warped his mind and made him commit many improper acts. A great swimmer. Bhima excelled them all in physical prowess. into pools. Duryodhana was very much worried. Bhima had exerted himself more than the others and as his food had been poisoned. . They went back in great sorrow. with one or more of them clasped helpless in his arms. contrive a way of killing Bhima. Duryodhana informed him that he had preceded them to the city. After his death Yudhishthira. the kingdom was ruled by Pandu. Duryodhana and his brothers planned to throw Bhima into the Ganges. asked his mother whether Bhima had returned home. So he returned to the city with the rest of the party in great joy. He made arrangements to carry out his resolve since he thought that the powers of the Pandavas would decline with the death of Bhima. and remain under water till they were almost drowned. The evil Duryodhana had already caused sharp spikes to be planted on the spot. Kunti and Yudhishthira welcomed him and embraced him in great joy. Whenever they climbed up on a tree he would stand on the ground and kick at the tree and shake them down like ripe fruits. By the poison that had entered his system Bhima became stronger than before. Fortunately there was no spike in the place where Bhima fell. His father being blind. Kripacharya taught them archery and the practice of arms and other things that princes should learn. and then seize the kingdom and rule it. The bodies of the sons of Dhritarashtra would be ever sore with bruises as a result of Bhima's practical jokes.

He looked proudly round him. then and there duplicated all of Arjuna's feats with careless ease. hastily embraced his brothers and stood ready for combat. taking leave of the Kuru brothers. receiving the greetings of the Kaurava brothers." With Drona's leave. confronted him weapon in hand. He seeks to kill Bhima since he wants to rule the kingdom. the lord of the thunderclouds." Yudhishthira also warned Bhima and said: "Be silent over the matter. even so did blazing wrath fill Arjuna. Hereafter. Arjuna displayed superhuman skill with his weapons and the vast assemblage was lost in wonder and admiration." Vidura replied: "What you say is true. cast a negligent salute to Drona and Kripa. Indra. Only two things I seek. your love and single combat with Partha. and not to you alone. which made way in awed silence." Karna laughed in scorn: "This arena is open to all. Your sons are blessed with long life. He heaved a deep sigh and pined away in sorrow. I am worried. Arjuna. While Karna. O thou with mighty arms. They saw enter through the crowd. KARNA THE Pandavas and the Kauravas learnt the practice of arms first from Kripacharya and later from Drona. The brothers. Great was Duryodhana's exultation. There was a large and enthusiastic crowd. A day was fixed for a test and exhibition of their proficiency in the use of arms in the presence of the royal family and as the public had also been invited to witness the performance of their beloved princes. loud and compelling like thunder the sound made by the slapping of mighty arms in challenge. His jealousy and hatred increased. his anger and hatred will only increase. Might is the sanction of sovereignty and the law is based on it. there came suddenly from the entrance of the arena a sound." Duryodhana clasped Karna again to his bosom and said: "My prosperity is all thine to enjoy. slain by me thou shalt presently go to the hell appointed for those who intrude uninvited and prate unbidden. faced one another.Kunti sent for Vidura and told him in secret: "Duryodhana is wicked and cruel. Karna addressed Arjuna in a voice deep as rumbling thunder: "Arjuna. And glaring fiercely at Karna who stood." Said Karna: "I. But what is the use of mere talk which is the weapon of the weak? Shoot arrows instead of words. with Drona's permission." Duryodhana was surprised to see Bhima come back alive. At the close of the day. as though the divine parents of the heroes sought to encourage their offspring and witness this fateful battle. Karna the lover of battle. And. am grateful. a godlike youth from whom light and power seemed to emanate. O king. All eyes turned in that direction. we have to be careful and help one another and protect ourselves. You need have no fear on that account. Karna. but keep your thoughts to yourself. I and this kingdom of the Kurus are at your command. he said: "O Karna. and Bhaskara of . all unaware. by the bitter irony of fate. I shall show greater skill than you have displayed. O Arjuna." Thus challenged. and strode up to Arjuna. 12. of their common blood. He threw his arms round Karna and said: "Welcome. whom good fortune has sent to us." As love flooded Duryodhana's heart. for it was Karna. who felt affronted. Duryodhana's brow was dark with envy and hate. stately as a mountain peak. For if the wicked Duryodhana is accused or blamed.

At that moment." He then obtained the assent of Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. others Karna. Nor is there much sense in tracing great heroes and mighty rivers to their sources. as the combat between the youthful heroes seemed about to commence." In generous wrath. who was the foster-father of Karna. some glorifying Arjuna. . and his skill with weapons. simultaneously appeared in the heavens. And he put on the garb of a brahmana and came to Karna." When he heard these words. As they were about to join in battle. The sun set and the crowd dispersed in tumult. Karna bent down his head like a lotus under the weight of rainwater. the newly crowned king of Anga. to speak thus. Kripa. Duryodhana stood up and said: "If the combat cannot take place merely because Karna is not a prince. entered the assembly. Duryodhana took Karna in his chariot and drove away. the old charioteer Adhiratha. his armor and earrings. The old man called him son. staff in hand and quaking with fear. bowed his head and did humble obeisance in all filial reverence. and wept with joy wetting with tears of love his head already moistened by the water of the coronation. performed all the necessary rites and invested Karna with the sovereignty of the kingdom of Anga giving him the crown. stepped between them and addressed Karna: "This prince. who was reputed for his charity and begged of him his earrings and armor. No sooner did he see him. O Vrikodara. and others again Duryodhana according to their predilection. embraced him with his thin and trembling arms. who is ready to fight with thee. Look at this warrior. There were groups loud in talk under the light of the lamps. for high-born princes cannot engage in single combat with unknown adventurers. Karna's lips trembled with anguish and he speechlessly looked up at the setting sun with a deep sigh. Indra foresaw that a supreme contest was inevitable between his son Arjuna and Karna. Valor is the hallmark of a kshatriya.the in finite rays. that is easily remedied. But Duryodhana broke in indignantly: "It is unworthy of you. why. his godlike form and bearing. well-versed in the rules of single combat. When she saw Karna. It is only after knowing thy lineage that Partha can fight with thee. I could give you hundreds of instances of great men of humble birth and I know awkward questions might be asked of your own origin. that Karna. didst thou say? I verily hold him worthy to rule the whole world. Bhima roared with laughter and said: "O he is after all only the son of a charioteer! Take up the driving whip then as befits thy parentage. The Sun god had already warned Karna in a dream that Indra would try to deceive him in this manner. For how could a tiger be born of an antelope? Unworthy of being king of Anga." At this outrageous speech. Kunti knew him as her first born and fainted away. I crown Karna as the king of Anga. Nor shouldst thou reign in Anga as a king. Vidura instructed the maidservant to attend upon her and she revived. Surely there is some mystery about him. At this sight. Reveal O mighty armed thy parentage and the race rendered illustrious by thy birth. is the son of Pritha and Pandu and a scion of the Kuru race. She stood stupefied with anguish not knowing what to do. jewels and other royal insignia. Thou art not worthy of death at the hands of Arjuna.

a thing that he had never cared for before. at that time. DRONA DRONA. the king of gods. and it will kill him whosoever he may be. used often to tell Drona that he would give him half his kingdom when he ascended the throne. 13. which has the power to kill enemies. the Brahmastra you have learnt shall fail you at the fated moment. Hence he cut off the earrings and armor with which he was born and gave them to the brahmana. He said: "You can use this weapon against but one enemy. In the end. Drupada. While he was in this predicament. and. He learnt of Parasurama the mantra for using the master weapon known as Brahmastra. in his boyish enthusiasm. he praised Karna as having done what no one else would do. Karna was the faithful friend of Duryodhana and remained loyally with the Kauravas until the end. But this killing done. Drupada. Karna went to Parasurama and became his disciple by representing to him that he was a brahmana." With these words Indra disappeared. Drona married the sister of Kripa. the son of the king of Panchala. though he had remembered it till then. was filled with surprise and joy. Learning that Parasurama was distributing his riches among the brahmanas. Kunti was sunk in sorrow. and. shamed into generosity. Karna became the leader of the Kaurava army and fought brilliantly for two days. but with a fateful proviso. Karna could not bring himself to refuse any gift that was asked of him. He said: "Dear pupil. the son of a brahmana named Bharadwaja. the wheel of his chariot stuck in the ground and be was not able to lift it free and drive the chariot along. who was a friend of Bharadwaja. . this weapon will no longer be available to you but will return to me. Blood began to flow and the pain was terrible. After completing his studies. for their sake. to conceal it. was a fellow-student of Drona in the hermitage and there grew up between them the generous intimacy of youth. bade Karna ask for any boon he wanted. One day Parasurama was reclining with the head on Karna's lap when a stinging worm burrowed into Karna's thigh. he first went to him. But Karna bore it without tremor lest he should disturb the master's sleep. Karna was not able to recall the Brahmastra spell. You will be unable to recall the invocatory mantra when your hour comes. Indra. devoted himself to the art of archery and became a great master. after completing his study of the Vedas and the Vedangas. After the fall of Bhishma and Drona. desired to acquire wealth. After accepting the gift.Still. and a son Aswatthama was born to them. all the more poignant because she had. A kshatriya alone can remain unmoved under all bodily torments." Indra granted the boon. But he was too late as Parasurama had already given away all his wealth and was about to retire to the forest." It was because of this curse that at the crisis of his last fight with Arjuna. Parasurama in his anger pronounced this curse on him: "Since you deceived your guru. Karna replied: "I desire to get your weapon. Parasurama awoke and saw the blood that had poured from the wound. Drona was passionately attached to his wife and son. you are not a brahmana. the Sakti. Arjuna killed him. Tell me the truth." Karna confessed that he had told a lie in presenting himself as a brahmana and that he was in fact the son of a charioteer.

O brahmana." Then Drona the brahmana stranger. Parasurama offered to teach him the use of weapons." Drona was turned out of the palace with scorn in his ears and a blazing wrath in his heart. The princes had gathered round the well and saw the ring shining from the bottom through the clear water. A vagrant beggar cannot be the friend of a sovereign. "you are the descendants of the heroic Bharata race. Drupada said: "O brahmana. When he introduced himself as an old friend. Drupada had ascended the throne of Panchala on the death of his father. Drona borrowed a bow. far from being glad to see him. Remembering their early intimacy and Drupada's expressions of readiness to serve him. The blade of grass straightway sped and stuck into the ball. Why cannot you take out the ball as anyone skilled in arms should know how to do? Shall I do it for you?" Yudhishthira laughed and said in fun: "O brahmana. he became unrivalled master of the military art. Meanwhile. His next move in search of employment was to go to Hastinapura. worthy of eager welcome as preceptor in any princely house in that warlike age. Who are you? Is there anything we can do for you?" and they bowed to him. But could see no way of getting it out. He said: "O princes. in the house of his brother-in-law Kripacharya. fixed an arrow on the string and sent it right into the ring. the ball as well as Yudhishthira's ring fell into a well." From the description given by the princes. The arrow rebounding brought up the ring and the b rahmana handed it to the prince with a smile. we will see that you have a good meal in the house of Kripacharya. in retirement. the princes were astonished and said: "We salute you. how dare you address me familiarly as your friend? What friendship can there be between a throned king and a wandering beggar? What a fool must you be to presume on some long past acquaintance to claim friend ship with a king who rules a kingdom? How can a pauper be the friend of a wealthy man. wherewith Drona took out the ball. and great archer as he already was. He made a mental vow to punish the arrogant king for this insult and his repudiation of the sacred claims of early friendship. Drupada. the princes were playing with a ball outside the precincts of the city. Afterwards he sent a number of similar blades in succession which clinging together formed a chain. even to the extent of sharing his kingdom.But." he surprised them by saying. One day. Seeing these feats. Drona joyfully agreed. Bhishma knew that the brahmana was none other than the famous master Drona. or a coward of a hero? Friendship can exist only between equals. They did not however. took a blade of grass and sent it forth into the well after reciting certain words of power for propelling it as an arrow. Drona went to him in the confident hope of being treated generously. Drunk with power and wealth. if you take out the ball. where he spent a few days. of which he was supreme master. . go to Bhishma and learn from him who I am. But he found the king very different from the student. felt it an intolerable presumption. The princes were lost in amazement and delight and begged of him to get the ring also. anxious to do something for Drona. "Princes. notice that a brahmana of dark complexion stood nearby watching them with a smile. or an ignorant boor of a learned scholar. and in the course of the game.

He defeated Drupada in battle and brought him and his minister captives to Drona. For his children's sake the worse became the better reason.He decided that Drona was the fittest person to impart further instruction to the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Your creed is that friendship is possible only between equals. These words were poison to Duryodhana's ears. Drupada's pride was thus humbled but. but could not accomplish their task. set Drupada at liberty and treated him with honor. In our boyhood we were companions but you were pleased to forget it and dishonor me. but he was weak of will and dotingly attached to his own children. and so I give you half of your kingdom that has become mine by conquest. As soon as the Kauravas and the Pandavas had acquired mastery in the science of arms. and birth of Draupadi. THE WAX PALACE THE jealousy of Duryodhana began to grow at the sight of the physical strength of Bhima and the dexterity of Arjuna. As for poor Dhritarashtra. Now I am a king. His efforts were crowned with success with the birth of Dhrishtadyumna who commanded the Pandava army at Kurukshetra and. having conquered your kingdom. Bhishma cannot be king either. They would flock together and argue: "Dhritarashtra could never be king for he was born blind. Karna and Sakuni became Duryodhana's evil counsellors in planning wily stratagems. and made him writhe and burn with jealousy. He alone can rule the Kuru race and the kingdom with justice. Then the master sent forth Arjuna on the same errand. he was a wise man no doubt and he also loved his brother's sons. ." Drona thought this sufficient revenge for the insult he had suffered. Hence Yudhishthira alone should be crowned as king. do not fear for your life. And we shall now be equals. and he would sometimes even knowingly follow the wrong path. It is not proper that he should now hold the kingdom in his hands. and few things are harder to bear than the pangs of wounded vanity. Bhishma received him with special honor and employed him to instruct the princes in the use of arms. slew the otherwise unconquerable Drona. Then Drona smilingly addressed Drupada: "Great king. You told me that a king alone could be friend to a king. They went as ordered by him. Drona sent Karna and Duryodhana to seize Drupada and bring him alive." Thus people talked everywhere. helped by a strange combination of circumstances. because he is devoted to truth and to his vow that he would not be a king. So. the consort of the Pandavas. hatred of Drona and a wish to be revenged on him became the ruling passion of Drupada's life. It was by means of the secret help rendered by Vidura who wanted to save the family from a great sin. Still I seek to regain my friendship with you. underwent fasts and conducted sacrifices in order to win the gratified gods to bless him with a son who should slay Drona and a daughter who should wed Arjuna. that the Pandavas escaped with their lives. One unforgivable offence of the Pandavas in the eyes of Duryodhana was that the people of the city used to praise them openly and declare in season and out of season that Yudhishthira alone was fit to be the king. The king performed tapas. 14. each owning a half of your kingdom. Duryodhana sought in various ways to kill the Pandavas. in discharge of the duty they owed to him as their master. since hate is never extinguished by retaliation.

As for the people. and his son's son. there will be no power for harm left in them. they idolise the Pandavas. "O king. "guard yourselves against the sons of Pandu. Dhritarashtra began to ponder and said: "Son. Send the Pandavas immediately to Varanavata. the closer and deadlier the danger. because he has not the strength. It pierces my heart and renders me sleepless and makes my life a torment. and then his son will be the kings. if over looked. The Pandavas are the sons of your brother. and all the ministers of the State and commanders of armies." Sakuni's minister continued: "Be not wroth with me if I say a king should be mighty in action as in name. I have won over his ministers to our cause. Kanika.He went to Dhritarashtra and complained bitterly of the public talk: "Father. should be its execution. guard yourself against the sons of Pandu. To live in hell would be better than that!" At these words." Later. If we do injustice. You were set aside because of your blindness. I tell you the solemn truth that my cup of suffering is full and I can bear no more. if for no other reason. the citizens will rise in insurrection and either kill us or expel us. They are very powerful. the minister of Sakuni. We will sink into poor relations dependent on them even for our food. This would bring disaster on us." . the citizens babble irrelevant nonsense. Vidura cannot openly oppose us. Also. was their leader. People praise him and will support him. evils must be eradicated promptly for a thorn which has been allowed to remain in the body may cause a festering wound. We shall only cover ourselves with ignominy. while Ashwatthama is devoted to me. State affairs should be kept secret and the earliest indication to the public. and it may even be possible to let them come back. They have no respect even for such venerable persons as Bhishma and yourself. He has truly inherited all the excellent virtues of his deceased father. of a wise plan. They say that Yudhishthira should be immediately crowned king. O king. We cannot oppose them with any chance of success. may cause a forest fire. If Yudhishthira is to succeed his father. what you say is true. but the nearer the kin. for their goodness and influence are a menace to you and yours. to whom Pandu had endeared himself by his nobility of character. They will not have a friend left here. where do we come? What chance has our progeny? After Yudhishthira his son." Duryodhana told Dhritarashtra of his success in securing adherents: "I have bought the goodwill of the king's attendants with gifts of wealth and honor. Still Yudhishthira will not stray from the path of virtue. will surely espouse his cause. some politicians were prevailed upon to join Duryodhana's party and advise the king in the matter. Bhishma will at worst be neutral." Duryodhana replied: "Your fears are baseless. After sending the Pandavas to Varanavata we shall try to strengthen our party. Once the kingdom has become ours. which means that his father Drona and uncle Kripa will also be on our side. A strong enemy should be destroyed by means of stratagem and it would be folly to show mercy to him. If you will adroitly prevail upon the Pandavas to go to Varanavata. the city and the whole kingdom will take our side. They are very strong. Powerful enemies should be destroyed and even a weak foe should not be neglected since a mere spark. He loves all. and your brother became the king." he said. for nobody will believe in strength which is never displayed.

and had inviting seats and bedsteads disposed at the most combustible places. It only remained to give effect to the plot. especially when Dhritarashtra also told them in tones of great affection that they should certainly go and witness the festivities. The materials for the plastering of the walls were also inflammable. was given to the deathtrap. The wise man knows his bearings by looking at the stars. Purochana. There are weapons sharper than those made of steel. The people of Varanavata were very happy to learn of the coming of the Pandavas to their city and welcomed them. in ghastly irony. lac. Every convenience was furnished for the Pandavas to dwell in the city without fear. Yudhishthira diligently examined the whole place bearing in mind Vidura's warning and verified that the building was without a shadow of doubt constructed with combustible material. The conflagration that devastates a forest cannot hurt a rat which shelters itself in a hole or a porcupine which burrows in the earth. He plotted with Karna and Sakuni to kill Kunti and her sons at Varanavata. The Pandavas took leave of Bhishma and other elders and went to Varanavata. Dhritarashtra's mind was shaken and he yielded to his sons' counsels. No one would dream of blaming the Kauravas. The ostentatious love and solicitude with which the Pandavas had been received and treated would obviate all suspicion and the fire would be taken as a sad case of pure accident. It was named "Sivam" which means prosperity. And the wise man who would escape destruction must know the means to guard against them. hastened to the spot well in advance and had a beautiful palace built for their reception. and fat were used in the construction of the palace. they moved into it under Purochana's guidance. The unsuspecting Pandavas were easily persuaded. a minister. Combustible materials like jute. Before the Pandavas proceeded to Varanavata. until the palace was built. and gave him secret instructions which he bound himself to carry out faithfully. not only because they were worth seeing but because the people of the place were eager to welcome them. oil. and that was the name which. They sent for Purochana. ghee. Vidura pointedly warned Yudhishthira in words intelligible only to the prince: "He alone will escape from danger who forestalls the intentions of an astute enemy. THE ESCAPE OF THE PANDAVAS AFTER taking reverential leave of the elders and embracing their comrades." Though they had started on their journey in sunshine of joy. After a brief stay in other houses while the palace specially meant for them was being got ready. true to his instructions. The ministers began to praise the beauty of Varanavata in the hearing of the Pandavas and made mention of the fact that a great festival in honor of Siva would be conducted there with all pomp and splendor. The citizens accompanied them a part of their way and returned unwillingly to the city.When many began to say what he himself wished to believe. Yudhishthira told Bhima: "Though we know very well that the palace is a trap of . the Pandavas proceeded to Varanavata. they now proceeded in a dark cloud of sorrow and anxiety. the idea was to set fire to it at night when they were sound asleep. 15. He skilfully filled up various parts of the building with dry things that could catch fire easily. When the Pandavas had settled down in the wax house. Duryodhana was elated.

to all appearance bent on pleasure but really to make themselves familiar with the forest paths. Presently. The people of Varanavata. No outward show of heart broken bereavement was omitted. there was a roaring fire all over the palace and a fast swelling crowd of frightened citizens all around in loud and helpless lamentation. Meanwhile. waited fully a year before putting the plot into effect. unknown to Purochana. . As has already been said. Purochana's residence was enveloped in flames before he could escape and he fell an unpitied victim to his own wicked plot. It was noticed by some that Vidura was not so overcome by sorrow as the others and this was set down to his philosophical bent of mind. knowing that the fated moment had arrived. so the heart of Dhritarashtra was at once warm with joy and chilled with sorrow. Kuntidevi and the Pandava brothers hurried out through the subterranean passage. Bhima set fire to the palace in several places. Some bustled aimlessly in futile efforts to put out the conflagration and all joined in the cry: "Alas! Alas! This surely is Duryodhana's work. At last Purochana felt he had waited long enough. They dressed themselves in single garments as became sorrowful kinsmen and went to the river and performed the propitiatory funeral rites. Purochana had his quarters at the gateway of the palace. Vidura had sent an expert miner who met them in secret and said: "My password is the veiled warning Vidura gave you." This was meant to indicate to Yudhishthira and to him alone. groping their way out in the darkness. Henceforward the miner worked for many days in secret. and later he communicated it to Kuntidevi. Yudhishthira answered that he had grasped Vidura's meaning. and completed a subterranean egress from the wax house right under and across the walls and the moat. And the watchful Yudhishthira. called his brothers together and told them that now or never was the time for them to escape. we should not make Purochana suspect that we know his plot." Dhritarashtra and his sons cast off their royal garments in token of mourning for the Pandavas whom they believed consumed in the fire. On his side Purochana. But the real reason was that he knew that the Pandavas had escaped to safety." So they stayed in that house to all appearance free from care. Kuntidevi arranged a sumptuous feast for the attendants that day. anxious to lull all suspicion and make the murderous fire seem an accident. Her idea was to lull them to well-fed sleep at night." Vyasa has beautifully described the then mental state of Dhritarashtra: "Just as the water of a deep pool is cool at the bottom and warm on the surface. they carefully kept to themselves their knowledge of the wicked plot against their lives. The Pandavas kept armed vigil during night. sent the following message to Hastinapura: "The palace which was the abode of the Pandavas has burnt down and no one in it escaped alive. and he is killing the sinless Pandavas!" The palace was reduced to ashes. which ran round the precincts. but by day they used to go out hunting in the forest. Duryodhana's hideous plot and the means of escape from danger. I have been sent to help you for your protection. We should get away at the right moment but escape would be difficult if we gave room for any suspicion.death. At midnight.

Sometimes. Bhima could not understand the springs of sinfulness in others and was lost in grief. as advised by Vyasa. and entering a mighty forest they went on at night in darkness that wrapped them like a shroud and in a silence broken hideously by the frightful noises of wild animals. All of them bowed before him and received encouragement and wise counsel from him. They crossed the river in the darkness. full of life and the glorious strength of youth. waiting for better days. When they reached the Ganges. the Pandavas stayed in the guise of brahmanas. Seeing that Bhishma was sunk in sorrow. Life is a tangled web and there is no one in the world who has not done both good and evil. Bhima alone sat awake absorbed in deep thought. Vyasa consoled her with these words: "No virtuous man is strong enough to live in virtue at all times.When he looked sad. Kuntidevi said: "I do not care even if the sons of Dhritarashtra are here to seize me. quite fordone by toil. they would race with each other." She forthwith laid herself down and was sunk in sleep. Then. Do not give way to sorrow. "Do not the plants and the creepers of the forest mutually help each other and live in peace?" he reflected." Then they put on the garb of brahmanas. He therefore carried his mother on his shoulders and took Nakula and Sahadeva on his hips. Thus heavily laden. At last. The other half would be shared by the other brothers and the mother. supporting Yudhishthira and Arjuna with his two hands. went to the city of Ekachakra and stayed there in a brahmana's house. who would wait anxiously till their return. Part of the way. One half would go to Bhima. but I must stretch my legs. being born of the Wind god had great strength and a mighty appetite. The Pandavas marched on. And finding a pool. 16. fearing that some evil might have befallen them. he wetted his upper garment. Kunti would divide the food they brought in two equal portions. he strode effortlessly like a lordly elephant forcing his way through the forest and pushing aside the shrubs and trees that obstructed his path. If they did not come back in time. they sat down unable to bear the pangs of thirst and overcome by the drowsiness of sheer fatigue. Sometimes. . Bhima. THE SLAYING OF BAKASURA IN the city of Ekachakra. tired beyond even heroic endurance. he was in fact following with his mind's eye the weary wanderings of the Pandavas. They met Bhagavan Vyasa on the way. Bhima forced his way about the tangled forest in search of water in the darkness. Bhima saw that his mother and brothers were exhausted by their nightly vigils as well as by fear and anxiety. Each and everyone has to bear the consequence of his actions. there was a boat ready for them in charge of a boatman who knew their secret. Vidura secretly comforted him by revealing to him the story of their successful escape. When Kunti told him of the sorrows that had befallen them. they would carry their mother to make better speed. while the others slept in merciful forgetfulness of their woes. nor is any sinner bad enough to exist in one welter of sin. she would be worried. made cups of lotus leaves and brought water to his mother and brothers who were perishing with thirst. begging their food in the brahmana streets and bringing what they got to their mother. "why should the wicked Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana try to injure us in these ways?" Sinless himself. they would pause and rest. suffering many hardships and overcoming many dangers.

while her husband is alive. How can we live after consigning to death our only solace in life and our hope for the here after? If he is lost. It is unrighteous to sacrifice her who is a gift of God to perpetuate the race. You persisted in saying that you were born and bred here and here you would stay where your parents and relations had lived and died. sacrificing both love and duty. one of the names of Bhima. tear it into foul rags. this girl and boy will surely die soon for want of a protector. Some great calamity surely had befallen the poor family and Kunti went inside to learn what it was." The daughter who was hearing this piteous conversation. Dogs fight for a cloth wet with ghee. to bring up and protect your children. at last the brahmana said to his wife: "O unfortunate and foolish woman. The potter. and done my duty b bearing y you a daughter and a son. who would pour libations for us and our ancestors? Alas! You did not pay heed to my words. and I am not. And he daily grew thin. though time and again I wished we should leave this city for good. The brahmana and his wife could hardly speak for weeping.Vrikodara. What shall I do? It is best that all of us perish together" and the brahmana burst forth sobbing. I have been happy with you. to be killed. nay. This little girl has been given to us by God as a trust to be handed over in time to a worthy man. It is me alone that you can spare to the Rakshasa. looks always famished. the brahmana tenderly embraced her and. loving mother. How can I think of losing you who have been to me at once my life's mate. you know. our son. in return. and send me to the Rakshasa. and a wolf. but. By my faithful devotion to you. and they heard loud lamentations from the house of their brahmana landlord. presented him with a big earthen pot that became an object of merriment to the street urchins. By ." Hearing these words of his wife. means wolf-bellied. And however much it might eat. If I give up my life. is what the scriptures say. The wife replied: "I have been a good wife to you. utterly overcome by her love and courage. It is equally impossible to allow this other. you would not agree. what words are these? Can I bear to live without you? The first duty of a married man is to protect his wife. Gladden me with a brave smile. give me your blessing. After I am gone. he replied: "O beloved and noble one. I should indeed be a pitiful sinner if I lived after giving you up to the Rakshasa. now interposed with sobs: "Listen to me. You are able. One day. I have performed many meritorious actions. and then do what is proper. Bid me farewell. as you know. the wife who bore my children. he wept like a child. Death has no terror for one who has been a good wife. Just as cast out offal is pounced upon and seized by rapacious birds. I am sure of heaven. Take care of my children. and in pulling it hither and thither in unclean greed. a poor widowed woman is an easy prey to wicked and dishonest people. Bhima's insatiable hunger and the scanty food he used to get at Ekachakra went ill together. when the other brothers had gone to beg for alms. which caused much distress to his mother and brothers. When he could find his voice. Blessed indeed is the woman who passes to the other world. This. Sometime later. and this is the deadly fruit of your perversity. Bhimasena stayed behind with his mother. take another wife. It would be best if I am handed over to the Rakshasa. my all in all? I cannot send you to death while I keep myself alive. its hunger is never quite satisfied. Bhima became acquainted with a potter for whom he helped and fetched clay. child though I be.

I have not the means to purchase a substitute. The citizens prayed to the Rakshasa to come to some sort of stipulation in place of this promiscuous slaughter. None of us can bear to live after sending one of us to a cruel death. And having long suffered with the sight of others' sorrow. From that day. said in his sweet childish treble: "I shall kill the Rakshasa with this stick. indiscriminately kill and eat men. Feeling this was the moment for intervention. do not weep. Kuntidevi entered and inquired for the cause of their sorrow and whether there was anything she could do to help them. this strong Rakshasa has been protecting this kingdom from foreign raids and wild beasts. do not weep. They prayed: 'Do not kill us wantonly at your whim and pleasure. In like manner. a woman without a guardian becomes the sport of wicked people who drag her hither and thither." and he went to each and sat on their lap by turns. If this family of ours can be saved from destruction by my single death. but refrain from this mad orgy of slaughter. mad with hunger. what a good death mine would be! Even if you consider my welfare alone. you can save the others. Let the wicked glutton gorge himself with all of us. that is. rice. The kshatriya ruler of this country has fled to the city of Vetrakiya and is unable to protect us. lisping: "Father. Since then he has held us in cruel thraldom. It is impossible for me to protect two fatherless orphans and they will perish miserably like fish in a waterless pond. both I and this little baby brother of mine will soon perish unprotected in this hard world. do not weep. Then he rose up took a stick of firewood and brandishing it about. along with the bullocks and the man." . you should send me to the Rakshasa. started up with glowing eyes. No hero has been found to free this country from this pest. You can make a repast of the rice. the parents tenderly embraced her and wept. with culture and domestic happiness. but only added to their great sorrow. A worthy family life. this is a sorrow far beyond your aid. but we have lost all hope even of that. We will deliver these to you in a carriage drawn by two bullocks driven by a human being taken from each house in turn. If both of you pass away. strong king. our own turn has come now to send a person as prey to the Rakshasa. where lives a cruel and terribly strong Rakshasa named Bakasura. The citizens of a country. Mother. Sister. Mother. This arrangement has been in force for many years. There is a cave near the city. hardly more than a baby. for the Rakshasa has invariably defeated and killed all the brave men who tried. The brahmana said: "Mother. should not marry and beget children. curds and intoxicating liquors and many other delicacies. myself.' The Rakshasa agreed to the proposal." The child's action and speech made them smile in the midst of their tears. Once a week we shall bring you sufficient meat. This Rakshasa formerly used to issue from his cave whenever he liked and. is possible only under the rule of a good. Wife. if there be no proper king ruling over us. our legitimate sovereign is unable to protect us. women and children in this city.sacrificing one soul. He forcibly seized this city and kingdom thirteen years ago. I have pained you with these things. wealth and other things are not safe." At these brave words of the poor child. Only God can help us. and so I shall go with my whole family to him. but you wished to know. whose king is weak. Let me be the little boat to take you across this river of calamity. Seeing them all in tears the boy.

Many brahmanas of Ekachakrapura planned to go to Panchala in the hope of receiving the customary gifts and to see the festivities and pageant of a royal wedding. the Rakshasa Bakasura was slain by Bhima who pretended to bring him a cartload of food. S she o told Yudhishthira: "We have been in this city so long that it is time to think of going somewhere else. as I have myself seen him kill many other such Rakshasas. we have lived happily for many years in the house of this brahmana. I know the heroism of Bhima and have no fears. Bhima was filled with unbounded joy and enthusiasm at the arrangement made by Kunti." Kunti's fear was that. is to repay the benefit he has enjoyed by doing good in his turn. read her sons' desire to go to Panchala and win Draupadi. Though Drupada and Drona were outwardly at peace. do not be afraid. the daughter of Drupada. Kunti said: "O brahmana. and find out h their where abouts. Dharmaputra saw the face of Bhimasena radiant with joy to which it had l ng been a stranger and inferred that o he was resolved on some hazardous adventure and questioned Kunti who told him everything. God is great. We have seen these hills and dales till we are tired of them." After a fierce battle. 17. Duty. The alms doled out to us are diminishing and it is not good to outstay your entertainment. Kunti. nay. One of them will take the food to the Rakshasa. It is not through Bhima's strength and daring that we hope to regain the kingdom that has been seized by our deceitful enemies? Was it not through the prowess of Bhima that we escaped from the wax palace? And you are risking the life of Bhima who is our present protection and future hope. if the story got noised abroad. After a long march the party reached the beautiful city of Drupada and billeted themselves in the house of a potter as obscure brahmanas of no note." The brahmana jumped up in amazed surprise. The brahmanas went in groups to witness the swayamvara and the Pandavas mingled with them in the guise of brahmanas. the former never could forget or forgive the humiliation he . It is our duty to be of service to this brahmana family. She said: "Good man. his power will come to naught. but then shook his head sadly and would not hear of the substituted sacrifice. if you reveal it. do not despair. Duryodhana's men would see the hand of t e Pandavas. Remember who carried us from Varanavata and who killed the demon Hidimba. Yudhishthira said: "What is this? Is not this rash and thoughtless? Relying on Bhima's strength we sleep without care or fear. man's highest virtue. news of the swayamvara of Draupadi. for. King of Panchala. Kunti talked the matter over with Bhimasena and returned to the brahmana. DRAUPADI'S SWAYAMVARAM WHILE the Pandavas were living in disguise as brahmanas at Ekachakrapura. But keep this a secret. I fear your many trials have clouded your judgment!" Kuntidevi replied: "Dear sons. My son is endowed with superhuman powers derived from mantras and will certainly kill this Rakshasa.The political truths contained in this story of Ekachakra are noteworthy and suggestive. Let us therefore go to Drupada's kingdom which is reputed to be fair and prosperous. with her motherly instinct." Kunti was second to none in worldly wisdom and sagacity and could gracefully divine her sons' thoughts and spare them the awkwardness of expressing them. I have five sons. The other brothers returned to the house with alms. reached them.

Many valiant princes had gathered there from all parts of Bharatavarsha. shall win my sister. The marriage hall was beautifully decorated and built amidst a finely laid out group of new guest-houses designed to accommodate the swayamvara suitors and guests. Then he proclaimed in loud. Many noted princes rose one after another and tried in vain to string the bow. Attractive sights and sports had been arranged for public entertainment and there were glorious festivities for fourteen days continuously. When he stood up. she ascended the dais. The noise that issued therefrom resembled the uproar of the ocean and over it all arose the auspicious sound of festal music from hundreds of instruments. who for their part looked at her in speechless admiration. After the peace invocation had been chanted and the flourish of music had stopped. if he also be of good family and presence. Drupada's one wish was to give his daughter in marriage to Arjuna. ancestry and description of the several suitors assembled there. Then all noises were hushed. It was too heavy and stiff for them. Drupada would be all the stronger for being Arjuna's father-in-law. for there arose from among the group of brahmanas a youth who advanced towards the bow. And if there were a war. There is the target and here are the arrows. Jarasandha. The candidate for the princess' hand was required to string the bow and with it shoot a steel arrow through the central aperture of a revolving disk at a target placed on high. Krishna. The brahmanas themselves were divided ." Then he narrated to Draupadi the name. When Karna came forward. and clad in flowing silk Draupadi dismounted and entered the swayamvara hall. clear tones: "Hear ye. and Duryodhana were among these unsuccessful aspirants. This required almost superhuman strength and skill. When he heard the news of the destruction of the Pandavas at Varanavata. and Salya. and they returned to their places abashed and ashamed.had suffered at the latter's hands. Fresh from her auspicious bridal bath. and Drupada proclaimed that the hero who would win his daughter should perform this feat. Dhrishtadyumna took Draupadi by the hand and led her to the center of the hall. It was Arjuna who had come disguised as a brahmana. Besides the competitors there was a huge concourse of spectators and visitors. Garland in hand. Salya. all the assemblage expected that he would be successful but he failed by just a hair's breadth and the string slid back flashing and the mighty bow jumped out of his hands like a thing of life. A mighty steel bow was placed in the marriage hall. He who sends five arrows in succession through the hole of the wheel and unerringly hits the target. The brahmanas repeated the usual mantras and offered oblations in the fire. Sisupala. O princes seated in state in this assembly. seeming to fill it with the sweetness of her presence and perfect beauty. Sisupala. here is the bow. There was great clamor and angry talk. The sons of Dhritarashtra were there as well as Karna. he was plunged in sorrow but was relieved by a later rumour that they had escaped. Drona loved Arjuna so dearly that he could hardly look upon his pupil's fatherin-law as his deadly foe. Dhrishtadyumna on horseback rode in front of his sister Draupadi seated on an elephant. Jarasandha. and coyly glancing at the valiant princes. wild clamor burst forth again from the crowd. some even saying that it was an impossible test put up to shame the kings.

unseen by them. I also followed and I saw all five and a venerable and august lady who. while others more envious or worldly wise. He was amazed and delighted at what he saw. Her face glowed with happiness which streamed out of her eyes as she looked on Arjuna. My words stand and there will be no going back on them.in opinion. She approached him and placed the garland on his neck. I think they are the Pandavas. Draupadi accompanied them." A free fight seemed imminent. The crowd was in tumult and there was a blare of musical instruments. But there were others again who spoke differently as they noted the noble and shapely proportions of the youth. and took the bow in his hand and strung it with ease. Nakula. He looks sure of himself and he certainly knows what he is about. the Supreme God." . Arjuna proceeded to the house of the potter accompanied by Draupadi. The brahmana may be physically weaker. while the crowd was lost in spellbound silence. waving aloft their deerskins in exultation as though the whole community had won Draupadi. he secretly told King Drupada: "Father. and returning. the choosing of a bridegroom. Draupadi said nothing but stood holding on to the skirts of the deer-skin in which Arjuna was clad. They said: "We feel from his appearance that he is going to win. They said: "The practice of swayamvara. I have no doubt. The uproar that followed was indescribable. and others had met with failure. Krishna. she should remain a virgin and burn herself on the pyre. Draupadi shone with a fresh beauty. is not prevalent among the brahmanas. Yudhishthira. my sister will become the lifemate of any one of good family and presence. stood armed with this formidable bludgeon. closely observed everything that took place there. The brahmanas who were seated in the assembly in large numbers sent forth shouts of joy. He placed an arrow on the string and looked around him with a smile. If this maiden does not care to marry a prince. and. but is it all a matter of brute strength? What about the power of austerities? Why should he not try?" And they blessed him. As anticipated by Bhima. Bhima alone remained in the assembly fearing that some danger might befall Arjuna from the kshatriyas. Arjuna approached the place where the bow lay and asked Dhrishtadyumna: "Can a brahmana try to bend the bow?" Dhrishtadyumna answered: "O best of brahmanas. Bhima plucked a tree by the roots. holding to the skirts of the deer-skin of that youth and she was not at all abashed. Dhrishtadyumna followed them at a distance. Some being highly delighted that there should be among them a lad of mettle enough to compete. by the side of Arjuna ready for any event. As Bhima and Arjuna were taking Draupadi to their temporary abode. and Sahadeva returned in haste to the potter's house to convey the glad news immediately to their mother. Salya. How can a brahmana marry her? We should oppose this marriage and prevent it so as to protect righteousness and save the practice of swayamvara from the peril which threatens it. Balarama and others sought to appease those who had created the confusion. the princes were loud in wrath. is Kunti herself. who bends the bow and shoots the target. and stripping it of foliage." Then Arjuna meditated on Narayana. said what impudence it was for this brahmacharin to enter the lists when heroes like Karna. Then without pause or hesitation he shot five arrows in succession through the revolving mechanism right into the target so that it fell down.

Our mother has commanded us so. With their mother Kuntidevi they are happy and well under the care of Drupada." Dhritarashtra thought in his blind fondness for his son that it was Duryodhana. Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin have become their allies. He immediately went to Dhritarashtra and said: "O King. Under this mistaken impression he replied: "It is indeed. Let me now hear your suggestions as to what we should do." Duryodhana's jealousy and hatred redoubled when he found that the Pandavas had somehow escaped from the wax palace and after spending a year incognito had now become even more powerful on account of the alliance with the mighty king of Panchala. a good time for us. this immoral idea that goes against the traditional usage?" Yudhishthira answered: "O king. Let us give Panchali a joyous welcome. are cleverer than ourselves. Vidura was happy. Well. INDRAPRASTHA WHEN news of the incidents that took place during the swayamvara at Panchala reached Hastinapura. very good. He said: "The blessed Pandavas are alive and it is Arjuna who has won the daughter of Drupada. We should not. what you say is true. let Vidura know our mind. which set at rest all anxiety regarding the enmity of Drona. that had won Draupadi. our family has become stronger because the daughter of Drupada has become our daughter-in-law. Are the dear Pandavas really alive? We have been mourning them as dead! The news you have now brought is balm to my heart. Go at once and bring Draupadi. and fortune also seems to favor them. Our enemies. well. Our stars are good. It has now come to this. Dharmaputra confided to the king that they were the Pandavas. He also informed him of their decision to marry Draupadi in common." . So the daughter of Drupada has become our daughter-in-law. What can we do?" Karna and Duryodhana went to the blind Dhritarashtra. Is it good time for us that our natural enemies. Favor us with your counsel in this matter.Invited by Drupada Kunti and the Pandavas went to the palace. The five Pandavas have married her jointly according to the rites enjoined by the sastras. But he was surprised and disgusted when he heard that they would jointly marry Draupadi." At these words of Vidura. kindly excuse us. either we must destroy them here and now or we shall ourselves perish. I am delighted at your words. Dhritarashtra felt frustrated but concealed his disappointment. the Pandavas. Duryodhana and his brother Duhsasana went to their uncle Sakuni and said in sorrow: "Uncle. who had also gone to take part in the swayamvara. Drupada rejoiced at knowing that they were the Pandavas. In a time of great peril we vowed that we would share all things in common and we cannot break that pledge. have so waxed n i strength that they will certainly destroy us? We could not carry out our plot against them and the fact that they know about it is an added danger. Duryodhana said: "You told Vidura that better days were ahead of us." Dhritarashtra replied: "Dear son. That was why I spoke to him in that manner. 18." Vidura hastened to correct the mistake. He said to Vidura with apparent joy: "O Vidura." Finally Drupada yielded and the marriage was celebrated. We have been let down by relying on Purochana. we are undone. however. the Pandavas. Drupada opposed this and said: "How unrighteous! How did this idea get into your head. as you say.

sent for Bhishma and Drona and consulted them. Then the Pandavas would fear to come here and we shall be safe." Drona also gave the same counsel and suggested sending a proper messenger to bring about an amicable settlement and establish peace. If Draupadi begins to suspect any of them. Perhaps. we can invite him to Hastinapura and use him so that our plan prospers." Duryodhana continued: "Can we not create discord among the Pandavas by means of Draupadi? Her polyandrous marriage is very convenient for us. You cannot frighten them that way. we found we could not deceive them. He was very much devoted to . we may take advantage of the fact that these Pandavas are not born of one and the same mother and create enmity between the sons of Madri and those of Kunti. Bhishma was very happy when he heard that the Pandavas were alive and well as guests of King Drupada of Panchala. We shall arouse doubts and jealousies in their minds through the efforts of experts in the science of erotics. This is my advice. You cannot sow dissensions among them. We shall certainly succeed." Karna replied: "This too is idle talk. We may commission a few brahmanas to spread convenient rumours in Drupada's city and severally tell the Pandavas that they would meet with great danger if they were to go to Hastinapura. and you think we can deceive them now. They have seen through your designs. We should make a surprise attack on the Pandavas and Drupada before Krishna joins them with his Yadava army." Karna laughed this also to scorn. Bhishma. wise with the ripe knowledge of right and wrong. That he has given away his daughter in marriage to the Pandavas will not stand in the way of our making him an ally. even all suspicion." Thus spoke Karna. Karna flew into a rage at this suggestion. He will not give up the Pandavas on any account. Consulted on the steps to be taken. You cannot conquer the Pandavas by stratagem. there is only one way left for us. All blame. Therefore. therefore. Draupadi also can never be turned against them. We can get a beautiful woman to beguile some of the sons of Kunti and thus make Draupadi turn against them. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished by the power of wealth.Duryodhana said: "I feel so distracted that no plan occurs to me. when they have acquired experience and are moreover under the protection of Drupada. replied: "The proper course will be to welcome them back and give them half the kingdom. There is much loose talk not creditable to you about the fire incident at the wax house. The citizens of the state also desire such a settlement. will be set at rest if you invite the Pandavas and hand over half kingdom to them. When they were here and were like immature birds with undeveloped wings." Karna smiled and said: "This is but futile talk." Duryodhana continued: "We should somehow make sure that the Pandavas do not come here and demand of us the kingdom that is now in our possession. We can also try to bribe Drupada into joining our side. This is the only way to maintain the dignity of our family. Dhritarashtra could not make up his mind. The king. We should take the heroic way out of our difficulty. from them. and that is to attack them before they grow stronger and other friends join them. Trickery will prove useless. as befits kshatriyas. whose daughter they had married. He said: "None of your proposals is any good. You cannot bribe the wise and honorable Drupada. Stratagems will not do hereafter.

" In the end Dhritarashtra determined to establish peace by giving half the kingdom to the sons of Pandu. has made such a suggestion. A king should examine critically the advice of his ministers before accepting or rejecting it. Dhritarashtra blessed the newly crowned Yudhishthira and bade him farewell with these words: "My brother Pandu made this kingdom prosperous. Come. is wise and just and should not be disregarded. half the kingdom was made over to the Pandavas and Yudhishthira was duly crowned king. and Yayati ruled the kingdom from there. ignorant of statesmanship and incompetent to advise. You should realise that those who advise you to injure the Pandavas are really bent upon the destruction of the race. In jubilant welcome of the beloved princes who were returning home after long years of exile and travail. the streets of Hastinapura had been sprinkled with water and decorated with flowers. said: "O wicked man. May you prove a worthy heir to his renown! King Pandu delighted in abiding by my advice. you are advising the king to go on the wrong path. Karna and Sakuni are but raw youths. Vidura rendered due honor to King Drupada and requested him on behalf of Dhritarashtra to send the Pandavas with Panchali to Hastinapura. That was our ancient capital. the head of our race. It is reported abroad that we tried to kill the Pandavas in the wax house. Our ancestors Pururavas. I trust you. He told Dhritarashtra: "I am surprised that Drona. and Draupadi. Follow Bhishma's advice." Then Dhritarashtra sought the advice of Vidura who replied: "The counsel given by Bhishma. you saved my sons. and we should first of all try to clear ourselves of the blame. Vidura went to the city of King Drupada in a speedy vehicle taking along with him many kinds of jewels and other valuable presents. Nahusha. I shall do as you advise. They will inherit the kingdom and acquire great renown. and Drona.Duryodhana and could not at all bear the idea of giving a portion of the kingdom to the Pandavas. The citizens and the whole country are delighted to know that the Pandavas are alive and they desire to see them once again. It is impossible to defeat them in battle. who has received wealth and honors at your hands. Do not listen to the words of Duryodhana. the master. ." Vidura went to Kuntidevi and prostrated himself before her. your children. Drupada and his sons as well as Krishna and the Yadavas are staunch allies of the Pandavas. If Dhritarashtra does not do what Bhishma and myself have advised. the Kauravas will certainly meet with destruction in the near future. Go to Khandavaprastha and make it your capital. his old eyes full of anger. My sons are wicked and proud." At these words of Karna. As had been already decided. Karna's advice is foolish and wrong. The Pandavas are also your children like Duryodhana and his brothers. He sent Vidura to the kingdom of Panchala to fetch the Pandavas and Draupadi. Vidura thus assured her: "Your children will never meet with destruction. I have made this settlement so that there may be no strife or hatred between you." She was also suspicious of Dhritarashtra's intentions. Love me in the same manner. They are. Drona. Kunti. let us go." At last Drupada also gave his assent and Vidura returned to Hastinapura with the Pandavas. She said: "Son of Vichitravirya. but he merely said: "The Pandavas may do as they like. Drupada mistrusted Dhritarashtra. therefore.

do not torment yourself on our account. and I am not strong enough to fly away carrying you with me. is made to frolic with apish joy. One of the characteristic beauties of the Puranic literature is this happy fusion of nature and imagination. If we die here. All forest creatures are in despair and the air is full of the agonising crash of falling trees. and in the fox the clever nature is shot through with the characteristics of a wise and experienced king. take another mate and be happy. The Pandavas renovated that ruined city. a deer was a rishi in a previous birth. and it was infested with thieves and wicked men. we shall attain a good birth in some future life. The subsequent degradation being due to a curse. If you give up your life for our sake. Khandavaprastha. was indeed a frightful place when it came into the possession of the Pandavas. A saranga bird was living there with its four fledgelings. our family will become extinct." To the mother who was wailing thus. Mother. Hanuman. that forest full of uneven places and thorns and prickles and cumbered with the crumbling vestiges of a long dead city. It grew in wealth and beauty and became the admiration of the world. It is usual to entertain children with stories in which birds and beasts are made to speak. The mother bird looked after its young ones. never straying from the path of dharma. THE SARANGA BIRDS IN the stories narrated in the Puranas. and renamed it Indraprastha. the children said: "Mother. The male bird was pleasantly roaming about in the forest with another female bird neglecting wife and children. Poor wingless babies! You will become a prey to the fire." In this manner Dhritarashtra spoke affectionately to Yudhishthira. But the stories of the Puranas are meant for elderly people. The stories are thereby made interesting vehicles of the great truths they sometimes convey. Krishna and Arjuna resolved to set fire to the forest and construct a new city in its place. The Pandavas ruled there happily for thirty-six years with their mother and Draupadi. What shall I do? Your father has deserted us. In a delightful passage in the Ramayana. In such cases the deer will act as a deer and yet speak as a rishi. You will soon have other children and be able to forget us.Re-establish that and be famous. the worried mother bird began to lament: 'The fire is coming nearer and nearer burning everything. The usual expedient employed is a previous birth when those creatures were human beings. and soon it will be here and destroy us. Fly to a place of safety. birds and beasts speak like men. and sometimes they give sound advice and even teach spiritual wisdom. and in them usually some background is given in explanation of animals having the gift of human speech. For instance. Leave us to our fate. As the forest was set on fire as commanded by Krishna and Arjuna and the fire spread in all directions. who is described as very wise and learned." . when he imagined that the beautiful damsel he saw at Ravana's inner courtyard was Sita. reflect and do what is best for our race. or a fox a king. 19. built palaces and forts. doing its destructive work. Birds and beasts had made it their abode. But the natural qualities of those creatures are adroitly made to peep through this human veil.

I took birth as a bird for obtaining children and I am naturally anxious about them. The mother bird told her children: "There is a rat-hole by the side of this tree. the gatekeeper said: "There is no place here for a childless man" and turned him back. Jarita paid no attention to her consort but remained absorbed in joy at finding her children alive." . who have done nothing for you? We have only brought you unhappiness since we came into the world. You can get into the hole and escape the fire. Then he left Jarita and wandered in the woods with another female companion. She had petulantly upbraided him. anxious for the safety of his young ones. Why should you sacrifice your life for our sake? How have we merited it." The children would not agree. I shall only be another of the many trusting females betrayed by unworthy males and cast out wandering in the forest. As they were the children of a rishi they could cheer and encourage their mother in the way they did. to your beloved Jarita. the mother had no mind to leave her children. They said: "The rat in the hole will devour us. The four eggs of Jarita hatched in time and they were the four birds mentioned above. Then she turned to her husband and asked in an indifferent tone why he had come." But the children said: "There are sure to be other rats in the hole. He was then born as a saranga bird and lived with a female companion named Jarita." The bird Mandapala said: "Your assumption is untrue. the male bird. When the fire had subsided. Kindly save your life by flying before the fire reaches us and this tree catches fire. Our danger is not ended by the killing of one rat by the eagle. We cannot get into the rathole. You may as well tell the truth and go away. While the fire was raging. When the fire dies down I shall let you out. if you like. be went to the tree where Jarita was seated. Why falsely bring in the fire and the children? You have yourself told me that the children of Jarita would never perish in fire since the Fire god has given you that boon. Take another mate and live happily. Be happy with her. I shall put you there. She embraced them and was intensely happy." This is the background of the story of the birds." The fire which destroyed the whole forest. had expressed his fears to his new lovebird Lapita. the mother bird came back and saw with wonder that her children were safe and chirping merrily. I shall close the mouth of the hole with earth and the fire will not touch you. He replied with affection: "Are my children happy? Who is the eldest among them?" Then Jarita cut in icily: "Do you greatly care? Go back to her for whom you abandoned me. You may go. There is now no danger for you inside the hole.Despite this earnest entreaty. Hearing his repeated laments "Is it so?" she said: "I know your mind. It is better to perish in the flames than to die ignobly by being eaten up by rats." The mother bird tried to relieve the fears of the children and said: "I saw an eagle devour the rat. A rishi named Mandapala long lived faithful to his vow of perfect brahmacharya but when he sought entry to the higher regions. I know that you desire to go back to Jarita. having had enough of me. mercifully left the baby birds unscathed. She laid four eggs. I shall just go and see them and then come back to you " Having thus consoled his new mate. Lapita. She said: "I shall remain here and perish in the flames with you.

I shall accompany them and together we will slay that king by . Why should not a king rest satisfied with his own kingdom? So. JARASANDHA THE Pandavas ruled Indraprastha in all glory. After three years of continuous fighting we had to acknowledge defeat and we left Mathura and moved to Dwaraka in the west.Mandapala philosophised: "A woman will not care for her husband after she has become a mother. What. Yudhishthira sought Sri Krishna's advice in this matter. Krishna's wisdom and Arjuna's dexterity? We can conquer Jarasandha's might. Yudhishthira said: "'My people urge me to perform Rajasuya." Krishna interposed: "Jarasandha should certainly be slain and fully deserves it. Those who surrounded Yudhishthira urged him to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice and assume the title of Emperor. When you yourself are afraid of Jarasandha what can we hope to do?" Bhima did not at all like this spirit of cowardly contentment. He has conquered many kings and holds them in subjection. but as you know. Bhima said: "Ambition is the noblest virtue of a king." 20. Even the blameless Vasishtha was thus ignored by Arundhati. It is my brothers who wish it. Yudhishthira said: "I agree. cannot be accomplished by a combination of my physical strength. only he who can secure the respect and allegiance of all kings. indeed. He has planned to immolate a hundred kings and is waiting to lay hold of fourteen more. are afraid of his prowess and are submissive to him. If Bhima and Arjuna agree. I shall give up this desire to be an emperor. And really. Advise me. It is evident that imperialism had an irresistible glamour even in those days. including the redoubtable Sisupala himself. Karna and others do not object to your assuming the title of emperor. you are not among those whose affection makes them blind and partial. and built a new city where we are living in peace and plenty. He who casts off indolence and properly employs political means. What is the good of being strong if one does not know his own strength? I cannot reconcile myself to live a life of idle ease and contentment. can perform that sacrifice and win the status of emperor. can conquer even those stronger than himself. And the only way to overcome his opposition is to defeat and kill him. the son of Ugrasena? After he had become the sonin-law and ally of Jarasandha my people and I attacked Jarasandha. Such is the way of the world. It is mere vanity and vainglory to desire to become an emperor. if we three join and set about it without doubts or fears. Strength reinforced by stratagem will surely do much. You can then not only perform the Rajasuya but also rescue and win the adherence of the kings who languish in his prisons." At these words of Krishna. Have you not heard of the wicked Kamsa. Nor are you one of those who advise to please and whose counsel is pleasant rather than true or wholesome. He has unjustly cast eighty-six princes in prison. Jarasandha will certainly oppose it." Krishna replied: "Quite so and that is why you cannot be emperor while the mighty Jarasandha of Magadha is alive and unconquered. he set out in a chariot harnessed with swift horses and reached Indraprastha. All the kshatriyas. I am but one of the many kings who rule their kingdoms with fairness and justice and lead happy unambitious lives. the title has no temptations for me. When Krishna learnt that Dharmaputra desired to see him. Even if Duryodhana.

" Finally Yudhishthira assented to the unanimous opinion that their duty lay in slaying Jarasandha. went to the forest with his two wives and engaged himself in austerities. he answered: "I am childless and have come to the forest giving up my kingdom. When he became old. Even a powerful man may fail if." Arjuna said: "What is the use to us of an existence without heroic deeds. THE SLAYING OF JARASANDHA BRIHADRATHA. The delivery took place in due course. Each half was a monstrous birth which seemed a revolting lump." The king cut the fruit into two halves and gave one to each wife." The sage was filled with compassion and. one ear and so on. We can seize fortune if we do our duties energetically. to ignorance of one's own strength. We know we are strong. he does not employ the means he has. Why should Yudhishthira suppose that we are incapable of this? When we have become old. He married the twin daughters of the raja of Kasi and vowed to them that he would not show any partiality to either. half a face." Yudhishthira was not pleased with this advice. He went to Sage Kausika of the Gautama family. For they each gave birth to but a half of a child. Failure is due. He took it and gave it to the king with this blessing: "Take it. the hero as well as the sluggard. Now. But the noblest duty of a kshatriya is to be true to his race and faith. Enthusiasm is the mother of success. it plunged them into greater grief than before. the wives became pregnant. Give me children. and we are not afraid of using our strength to the utmost. 21. even as he was thinking how to help the king. one leg. They were indeed two equal and complementary portions of one baby. I do not like to send them on this dangerous errand. It seems to me far better to give up the idea altogether. resort to the forest and pass the rest of our days in penance and austerities. Your wish will be fulfilled. we should lead strenuous lives and do heroic deeds worthy of the traditions of our race. consisting of one eye. Some time after they had partaken of the fruit. born of Kunti in the Bharata race. advise? Death comes to all. to win glory. with a sorrowful longing for children in his heart. Brihadratha was not blessed with a child for a long time." Krishna was delighted to hear these words and said: "What else can Arjuna. I like this suggestion. through lassitude. He did so to keep his vow not to show partiality to either. and overcoming his foes in righteous battle. will not become famous if he does not exert himself. a mango fruit fell into his lap. he handed over his kingdom to his ministers. This conversation has a curiously modern ring about it and shows that powerful men in ancient days used very much the same specious reasoning as now.stratagem and set free the imprisoned princes. Seized with grief. they commanded their attendants to tie the . born as we are of an illustrious line? A Kshatriya though endowed with all other good qualities. the commander of three regiments. in the vast majority of cases. But instead of bringing the expected joy. merely to gratify a vain desire to be an emperor. And when the sage was moved with pity and asked him what he wanted. He said: "This may really mean sacrificing Bhima and Arjuna who are to me as my two eyes. reigned in the kingdom of Magadha and attained celebrity as a great hero. it will be time to assume the ochre robe.

So. Jarasandha said: "Krishna. clad in robes of bark-fibre and carrying the holy darbha grass in their hands. if sufficient force were used.gruesome pieces in a cloth and cast them away. perfect in every detail. and other allies of Jarasandha are no more. The latter sort was a fight to the death with weighted gauntlets or a wrestling to the death in catch-as-catch-can style. it could be split again into two. This child became known as Jarasandha. When Jarasandha demanded the truth of them they said frankly: "We are your foes and seek instant combat. It was the practice of Jarasandha to meet noble guests who had taken vows and talk to them at their leisure and convenience. They can speak only after midnight. going to the king. When the conquest and slaying of Jarasandha had been resolved upon." The king was immensely delighted and handed it over to his two wives. Jarasandha received them with respect as their noble bearing seemed to indicate an illustrious origin. and he also observed that they had on their hands the scars made by the bowstring and had besides the proud bearing of kshatriyas. Bhima is famous for his physical strength. The attendants did as they were instructed and threw the cloth bundle on a heap of refuse in the street. Jarasandha was disturbed by portents of ill omen. She took on the guise of a beautiful woman and. you are a cowherd and Arjuna is a mere boy. It is useless to fight with armies. Kamsa. The surprised Rakshasi did not wish to kill the child. Sri Krishna said: "Hamsa. Bhima and Arjuna made no reply to his words of welcome because they wished to avoid having to tell lies." Jarasandha entertained them in the hall of sacrifice and returned to the palace. She was elated at seeing the two pieces of flesh and. this is the right time to kill him. This interesting story embodies the important truth that two sundered parts joined together will still remain weak. and so he called at midnight to see them. Now that he is isolated. presented the child to him saying: "This is your child. But his body had one weakness namely. accidently the halves came together the right way. He grew up in to a man of immense physical strength. Bhima. Jarasandha chivalrously agreed to fight him without weapons. You can choose one of us at will to fight with you. Hidimbaka. and Arjuna entered the palace unarmed. A cannibal Rakshasi chanced upon that place. Krishna. To ward off the threatened danger. They disguised themselves as men who had taken religious vows." After acquainting himself as to who they were." According to the code of honor of those days. He must be provoked to a single combat and slain. that being made up by the fusion of two separate parts. Their conduct made Jarasandha suspicious. as she gathered them up both at once. Thus they entered the kingdom of Magadha and arrived at the capital of Jarasandha." Since Bhima was unarmed. This was the kshatriya tradition to which Krishna and the Pandavas had recourse for slaying Jarasandha. Krishna spoke on their behalf: "These two are observing a vow of silence for the present as at part of their austerities. with a tendency to split. . he had propitiatory rites performed by the priests and himself took to fasts and penance. I wish to fight with him. a kshatriya had to accept the challenge to a duel whether with or without weapons. And they at once adhered together and changed into a whole living child.

At once Bhima lifted him and whirling him round and round a hundred times. The India of those days consisted of a number of independent states. Towards the close of the festive celebrations. This story is told in the next chapter. should be honored first. which all the acquiescing kings would attend in token of acknowledgement of his supremacy. while Krishna and Arjuna looked on in alternating hope and anxiety. Bhima and Arjuna returned to Indraprastha. when he saw Krishna pick up a straw. With Jarasandha gone. After receiving this assent he would perform a grand Rajasuya sacrifice. . which was also Yudhishthira's own opinion. The captive princes were released and Jarasandha's son was crowned King of Magadha. Though there was one dharma and one culture throughout the land.Bhima and Jarasandha were so equally matched in strength that they fought with each other continuously for thirteen days without taking rest or refreshments. And Krishna. at the time of paying the first honor. and cast the bits in opposite directions. the way was now clear for the Rajasuya which the Pandavas performed with great pomp and splendor. the king of Dwaraka. Bhima took the hint. dashed him to the earth and seizing his legs tore his body asunder into two halves. And Bhima roared in exultation. The time came for doing the honors of the occasion. In accordance with this custom. Yudhishthira followed the advice and under his instructions Sahadeva offered to Sri Krishna the honors enjoined by tradition. was at a loss what to do. 22. He laughed aloud in derision and said: "How ridiculous and unjust. Thus did Jarasandha meet his end. Jarasandha showed signs of exhaustion. but I am not surprised. leapt up into vigorous life and again attacked Bhima. which would sometimes be given without question. Sisupala. (This was an insulting allusion to the sons of Kunti) The man who gave advice was born of one who ever declines from high to low. On the fourteenth day. The question arose as to who should be honored first. so t at h they could not come together and join. the Pandavas invited the other kings after the slaying of Jarasandha and performed the Rajasuya. Bhima aghast at the sight. The celebrations were marred by only one incident. and when once again he tore Jarasandha asunder he threw the two portions in opposite directions. Occasionally. Yudhishthira assumed the title of emperor. thus made whole. who hated Krishna as wickedness alone can hate goodness. the autonomy of each state was scrupulosly respected. and Krishna prompted Bhima that the time had come to make an end of him. THE FIRST HONOR THE practice of staging a walkout from an assembly in protest against something is nothing new. tear it into two. Sisupala behaved disrespectfully in the assembly of princes and provoked a fight with Krishna in which he was slain. The man who sought advice was born in illegitimacy. We learn from the Mahabharata that walkout was resorted to even in ancient times. could not tolerate it. some strong and ambitious monarch would seek the assent of his fellow kings to his overlordship. The custom was to render first honor to the guest who was considered most worthy of taking precedence over all others. the king of Chedi. The grandsire was emphatically of the opinion that Sri Krishna. The two halves at once joined and Jarasandha.

you chose Krishna for the first honor Krishna who is neither royal. you are raw. nor learned. is present. these . it is a shame that you paid the first honor to Krishna. a What virtue or dharma was there in his giving priority of honor to this villain Krishna who killed Jarasandha in an unjust manner? You should henceforth call Yudhishthira an unrighteous person. for Vyasa. How did you choose Krishna. Kripacharya. This dotard Bhishma guided you foolishly and thus made fools of you. We personally do not much care whether he is friend or foe. we wanted to see him uphold the flag of dharma. for your preceptor is Drona who is here in this assembly. you have paid royal honors to a cowherd boor. he continued: "Ignoring the many kings and heroes who are here at your own invitation and in malicious despise of them." Getting more and more angry as he spoke. And there is also Karna. nor even hoary. what impudence on your part to accept the undeserved honor which these misguided Pandavas did you! Did you forget yourself? Or did you forget decent tradition? Or was it just a case of a dog snatching at a remnant of food which nobody cared to claim or guard? Do you not really see that this farce is a ghastly mockery and disgrace to yourself? It is like the mockery of showing beautiful things to a blind man or offering a maiden in marriage to a eunuch. forgetting him? Among the princes assembled here. It would have been better even if you had paid the first honor to Bhishma. Is this the place and the occasion to show your vulgar partiality for Krishna. Encouraged by their applause he addressed Yudhishthira: "When there are so many kings gathered here.(This is in reference to the fact that Bhishma was born of Ganga. the great master. the father of Krishna. And what shall I say of the man honored! He is a fool by birth and a cowherd by breeding. for all your imperial pretensions you are ignorant of this. why. out of childish partiality. a mere nobody. is not his father alive? You could not have honored him as your preceptor surely. was but a servant of Ugrasena. the hero who is expert in all sastras. untaught youths. after all that t lk of virtue and dharma. Krishna. Not to render respect where it is rightly due and to render it where it is not merited are both equally grave offences. who is nothing but a low cowherd! Thus you have dishonored us all. But. he has still the merit of being the oldest man of your house. there is Duryodhana. Krishna is no ruler at all! O Yudhishthira. Leaving him aside. is also present in this assembly. the river naturally flowing from higher to lower levels. why did you dare to do this wretch first honor in this illustrious assemblage of kings? He has not even the merit of age and if you admire grey hair. O kings. altogether ignorant of the way to conduct a royal assembly. for dotard as he be. whom you have invited here. How could you then pay the first honor to this cowherd? Ashwatthama. is here.) And he who did the honors was also born illegitimately. the disciple of Parasurama. O Krishna." Some of the assembled princes applauded Sisupala. nor heroic. Dumb indeed must be the members of this assembly if they have not a word to say to this! This is no place for worthy men. He is not even of royal blood. it is not out of fear that we assented to Yudhishthira's assuming the title of emperor. Is it as an expert in performing sacrifices that you have honored him? It cannot be. Your family teacher. the son of Devaki? Is this worthy of the children of Pandu? O sons of Pandu. Likewise. having heard much prate of his righteousness. It is a pity that. He has now wantonly dishonored us. Vasudeva. nor holy.

It shall be my duty to give no occasion for anger or pretext for hostility. much sorrow and suffering is in store for thirteen years to come. May the illustrious Kuru race gain even greater glory through you. you alone can remove my apprehensions. I shall never give way to anger. Give me leave to return to my hermitage." And Vyasa blessed Yudhishthira. priests and elders. Life seemed to him a bitter and weary business and his destiny particularly cruel and unbearable. the princes. in which the latter was slain by his discus. Vyasa's words filled Yudhishthira with grief and with a great repugnance for worldly ambition and life itself. 23. Thus shall we profit by Bhagavan Vyasa's warning. and there ensued a terrible fight between Krishna and Sisupala. and this fellow Krishna are all made of the same stuff. The portents indicate the destruction of the Kshatriya race and are not exhausted with the death of Sisupala. The first event of the series which culminated in the devastating slaughter on the blood-sodden field of Kurukshetra and the event which was the evil root of all. The sage said: "O son of Kunti. This catastrophe will spring out of the enmity between you and your brothers on the one side and your cousins. Vyasa also came to say farewell. It will culminate in a war resulting in practical annihilation of the Kshatriya race. the Dhritarashtras." His brothers expressed cordial assent.kingly honors are really an affront to you. SAKUNI COMES IN AT the close of the Rajasuya. I shall avoid all pretext for conflict. Dharmaputra rose and received him with due respect and sat by his side. I take this vow never to speak harshly to my brothers or to my kinsmen for the next thirteen years. the senile Bhishma. Arjuna said: "You are a king and it is not right for you to be agitated. for they were too angry to be appeased. Be firm and steadfast in righteousness. Many of them followed him. farewell. Wise men have predicted from portents the happenings of catastrophic events. which is the root cause of enmity. may God protect us and give us wisdom. Hundreds of kings will perish. was the gambling match into which Yudhishthira was inveigled by Sakuni." Yudhishthira replied: "Brothers. Sisupala's aggressive vanity waxed to fighting pitch." After Sisupala had spoken these harsh words. Why did the wise and good Yudhishthira suffer himself to be persuaded to this step which he must have known to hold evil possibilities? . Yudhishthira ran after them and tried to appease them with sweet words of peace but in vain. It is far from it. Let us meet destiny with an undaunted front and do our duty. The Rajasuya was duly celebrated and Yudhishthira recognised emperor. who had gathered for the purpose. took leave and returned to their places." Yudhishthira touched the feet of his progenitor and guru and said: "O master. Be vigilant and rule the kingdom. who was Duryodhana's evil genius. He informed his brothers of the prediction of unavoidable racial disaster. It is now evident that the would-be emperor Yudhishthira. and the old order of things will pass away. For my part. Has this prediction been fulfilled by the death of Sisupala or is more to ensue?" Bhagavan Vyasa replied: "Dear child. he rose from his seat and walked out calling upon the other kings to join him in resenting the insult. on the other. No one can go against destiny. you have got the title of emperor which you eminently deserve.

Duryodhana saw unprecedented wealth. Kripa. Before the very eyes of the assembled kings Sisupala was slain and not one of them had the courage to come forward to avenge him. since the etiquette of those days made it a point of honor to accept a game of equal hazard." At these words. the king of gods. He asked incredulously: "Uncle. he laid open the field for the poisonous seed of hatred and death. I shall win his kingdom and wealth for you without shedding a drop of blood." 24. but I know a way to drive Yudhishthira out of Indraprastha without a fight or the shedding of blood. How can I avoid giving way to grief after seeing all this? What is the good of living?" Sakuni said: "O Duryodhana. Sakuni opened the conversation. the Pandavas are your brothers. Somadatta and myself are your supporters? You can conquer even the whole world. They are but enjoying their legitimate inheritance. is it possible to overcome the Pandavas without sacrificing any life? What is your plan?" Sakuni replied: "Yudhishthira is fond of the game of dice and being unskillful is altogether ignorant of its tricks and the opportunity it offers to cleverer people. Why should you be jealous? How can their strength and happiness diminish your greatness? Your brothers and relations stand by you and obey you. following the tradition of the kshatriyas." The eyes of Duryodhana lighted up. all suggestive of great prosperity. surrounded by his brothers. This gave him unbearable grief. is like Indra. and if destiny is kind. Duryodhana was burning with jealousy at the thought of the prosperity of the Pandavas that he had witnessed in their capital during the Rajasuya sacrifice. but it seemed too good to be true. . speaking to him. it is true that I have so many to support me. Why do you grieve when Bhishma. our very follies turn to our advantage. By their good fortune they have prospered and flourished without doing any injury to others. Jayadratha. It is not right on your part to be jealous of their prosperity. He said: "O king. Why should we not wage war and drive the Pandavas out of Indraprastha?" But Sakuni said: "No. Yudhishthira will be helpless as a child against me. Duryodhana said: "O Sakuni.The main cause was his fixed resolve to be on amicable terms with his cousins by not opposing their wishes. Drona. attractive and sight eluding crystal doors and many pieces of exquisite artistry in the court-hall of Yudhishthira. That will not be easy. While Dharmaputra was care-worn with solicitude to avoid a quarrel at all costs. Ashwatthama and Karna are on your side. however well meant or wise. If we invite him to a game. they bartered their honor and jewels and riches for Yudhishthira's goodwill. Sakuni asked: "Why are you sighing? Why are you tormented with sorrow?" Duryodhana replied: "Yudhishthira. Out of his very anxiety to foster goodwill. he would accept. Do not give way to grief. Our best wisdom is vain against fate. THE INVITATION DURYODHANA and Sakuni went to Dhritarashtra. And a friendly invitation to dice could not be summarily turned down. He also saw how glad the kings of many countries were to become the allies of the Pandavas. without divine aid. He was so absorbed in sorrow at the prosperity of the Pandavas that he did not at first hear Sakuni who was by his side. Like the vaisyas who live by trade. I know the tricks of the game and I shall play on your behalf. Here is an illustration of the futility of human plans.

He burst out: "Contentment with one's lot is not characteristic of a kshatriya. why do you hate the guileless Yudhishthira? Is not his prosperity ours too? Our friends are his friends. defeating him utterly and divesting him of his all without recourse to arms. and his reply was not very respectful. Why this unconcern?" Dhritarashtra who doted on his son embraced Duryodhana and said: "I do not see why you should be disconsolate." Duryodhana replied: "Father. You should not be jealous." Thus said the old king who. Leave the rest to me. Why should you be jealous of your brother? No. like anybody else. You are paying no attention to his unbearable sorrow. Duryodhana did not at all like the advice of his father. My wealth and pleasures do not give me any satisfaction since I have witnessed the greater prosperity of Yudhishthira. if you would only agree to invite Yudhishthira." Dhritarashtra said: "Beloved child. The wicked Sakuni wound up with saying: "It is enough if you merely send for the son of Kunti to play the game of dice. are not virtues in kings. He said to his father: "Vidura will only give us the platitudes of ." But Duryodhana would not hear of consulting Vidura. especially when they are blameless." Dhritarashtra said: "Your suggestion does not seem proper. Do not cherish any hatred towards the Pandavas. He has not the least jealousy or hatred towards us. though overfond of his son. while we have shrunk. Fear and pity lower the dignity of kings. why should you pine in sorrow? You have learnt the Vedas. What is left you to wish for? Tell me." Duryodhana spoke thus quoting maxims of politics and citing examples and making the worse appear the better reason.Duryodhana is wan with grief and anxiety. He will advise us rightly. you have inherited the throne. You have much learning of statecraft but have no state wisdom at all. What is here that you already do not enjoy? The whole world is at your feet. though the duties of ordinary men. is like a wooden ladle immersed in savoury food which it neither tastes nor benefits from. He referred to the prosperity he had seen in the capital of the Pandavas that to him was bitterer than loss of his all would have been. Tell me. but I find life unbearable. Let us ask Vidura about it. O king. archery. you are the eldest son of my r oyal spouse and me and heir to the glory and greatness of our renowned race. You are equal to him in heroism and ancestry. rich or poor. Sorrow and death will be the sole result of hatred of kith and kin. did not occasionally hesitate to say what he felt to be just.' The kshatriya's duty is a constant seeking of victory. I eat and cover my nakedness. Thus has Brihaspati said: 'Forbearance and contentment. He replied: "The man without common sense. As my first born. The way of the world is one thing and the administration of a state is quite another. What is the use of leading such a life?" And then he revealed in detail the envy and hatred that were eating into his vitals and depriving life of its savour. the Pandavas have grown. When you are surrounded by all kinds of pleasures like the very gods." Duryodhana added: "Sakuni will win for me the riches of the Pandavas without a fight. Then Sakuni intervened and set forth in detail his infallible plan of inviting Yudhishthira to play the game of dice. but immersed in learning. as your advice to me clearly shows. and other sciences from the best of masters.

I have grown old. Men rush consciously on their ruin impelled by lust. The game of dice will only lead to enmity. It may be asked why the wise Yudhishthira responded to the invitation. We are ever abiding by your advice. What would you have us do?" Vidura replied: "Everyone is aware that the playing of dice is the root of many evils. Yudhishthira went to Hastinapura with his brothers and retinue. see everything. and if it will now serve us to win our cause without bloodshed. where is the harm?" Dhritarashtra replied: "Dear son. We should not do it. out-argued and through sheer fatigue and hopelessness of dissuading his son. Yudhishthira was fond of gambling. The policy of kings must be very different from the goody maxims of textbooks. who could not oppose the demand of his son. Vidura said: "O king. Do as you like.ordinary morality. 25. said: "If fortune favors us I have no fear regarding this game. this will undoubtedly bring about the ruin of our race by raising up unquenchable hate." Yudhishthira seemed to ask counsel of Vidura: "Wagering games create quarrels among kshatriyas. You know this as well as I do. I am sure you will repent later. Vidura does not like me and is partial to the Pandavas." Dhritarashtra. The king would like you to come with your brothers. How fares it with you all? I have come to invite you on behalf of King Dhritarashtra to come and see the newly erected hall of games. I do not think it wise to antagonize them. This is the work of destiny." Dhritarashtra said: "The Pandavas are strong. Moreover. and is sterner stuff of which the test is success. The weak-witted Dhritarashtra. destiny is allpowerful. THE WAGER AT THE sight of Vidura. Vidura went to Yudhishthira with an invitation. But the line that you are taking does not appeal to me." Despite this warning. fortune goes against us. A wise man will avoid them if he can. It is an ancient pastime which kshatriyas have always indulged in. I did my best to oppose this idea. how could we help it? For. Three reasons may be given. have a game of dice and return to your capital. You may do as you like. A beautiful hall has been erected there even like yours. Dhritarashtra assented. gambling and drink. The passions resulting from the game will know no bounds. A lost opportunity may never come again." In the end. Yet he could not forbear consulting Vidura in secret about the matter. Should we not force the issue while yet we are more powerful than they are? That will be real foresight. which will not help us to our object. Go and invite Yudhishthira on my behalf to come and play dice." But Duryodhana was importunate: "Wise statesmanship lies in casting off all fear and protecting oneself by one's own efforts. Still the king has commanded me to invite you and I have come. Yudhishthira anxiously inquired: "Why are you so cheerless? Is it well with all our relations in Hastinapura? Are the king and the princes well?" Vidura acquainted him with his mission: "Everyone in Hastinapura is well. If on the contrary. . and it is not as though we invented the game of dice to injure the Pandavas. The kshatriya tradition made it a matter of etiquette and honor not to refuse an invitation to a game of dice. yielded to the desire of his son through his attachment to him in spite of the fact that he knew this was the way that destiny was working itself out." Thus commanded. overpersuaded. and ordered the servants to prepare a hall of games.

But do not come out with this worn excuse of right and wrong. that is all. Devala and other wise rishis who were well-versed in worldly affairs have declared that gambling should be avoided since it offers scope for deceit. Yudhishthira at first said: "O king. gambling is bad. As for the result. He pledged his elephants and armies and lost them too." The hall was fully crowded. I think. customary for one man to play on behalf of another." Yudhishthira had thought himself secure of defeating Duryodhana in play but Sakuni was a different matter. Still. After the exchange of customary greetings. silver and then chariots and horses. True to the vow he took at the time Vyasa had warned him of the quarrels that would arise leading to destruction of the race. and there is nothing wrong in it. I shall play. Yudhishthira would not give any occasion for displeasure or complaint by refusing the invitation of Dhritarashtra. Drona. When he lost all these. You are not unaware of it. and that is what happens in a game of dice also." Sakuni retorted tauntingly: "I see that you are forging another excuse. in every field of activity. and after the daily routine of duties. and Dhritarashtra were seated there. But if you are afraid. It is not through heroism or merit that one succeeds in a game of chance. cities. So he hesitated and said: "It is not. These causes conspired with his natural inclination to make Yudhishthira accept the invitation and go to Hastinapura. Kripa. Bhishma. They have also said that conquest in battle is the proper path for the kshatriyas. Yudhishthira staked his servants and lost them also. you need not play. It is just a test of strength or skill. . In his discussion with Sakuni. Still bad luck dogged him. is a battle? What is even a discussion between Vedic scholars? The learned man wins victory over the ignorant." Yudhishthira replied: "Well. he would not stop. The better man wins in every case. The dice thrown by Sakuni seemed at every time to obey his will. The assembled princes watched the game with great interest and enthusiasm. Asita. Cows. casting caution to the winds. weakened by addiction to gambling. who is to play with me?" Duryodhana said: "Mine is the responsibility for finding the stakes in the form of wealth and gems to play the game." Yudhishthira flushed and. went to the hall of games the next morning. or rather the trickery of Sakuni was too much for him. for Sakuni was a recognised expert. sheep. in fact.There is a third reason too. was at war with his judgment and in his heart of hearts Yudhishthira desired to play. The Pandavas and their retinue stopped in the magnificent palace reserved for them. Vidura. At first they wagered jewels and later gold. Sakuni announced to Yudhishthira that the cloth for playing the game had been spread and invited him to it. villages and citizens and all other possessions were lost by Yudhishthira. He lost the ornaments of his brothers and himself as well as the very clothes they wore. replied: "Well. Yudhishthira lost continually. My uncle Sakuni will actually cast the dice in my stead. Yudhishthira rested on the day of arrival. They knew that the game would end viciously and sat unhappily witnessing what they could not prevent. the expert defeats the beginner. we see this inner conflict. The keen-witted Sakuni spotted this weakness at once and said: "What is wrong with the game? What. drugged with misfortune." But a part of himself.

Duryodhana. being your full brothers. Soon great shouts of 'Fie! Fie!' arose from all sides. Yudhishthira said: "Here is my brother Sahadeva. The wicked Sakuni was afraid that Yudhishthira might stop there. he said: "O king. Let us play. understand the righteous life we lead?" He continued: "I offer as wager the evervictorious Arjuna who successfully voyages across oceans of battle." With these words Sakuni cast the dice and the result was what he had foretold." Sakuni cast the dice with the words: "Here. Sakuni cast the dice and shouted again: "I have won. Vidura turned to the assembly and said: "Yudhishthira had no right to stake . Let us play. It is wrong to bet him. I offer him as a bet" and he played again and lost Bhima too." "Look. Yudhishthira lost Arjuna also. I have played and I have won. you do not see it. I place him as a wager. Bhima and Arjuna. Bhima. There was audible distress and agitation in that part of the assembly where the elders sat." Yudhishthira." Vidura exclaimed: "Are you mad that you rush to certain destruction? You are hanging by a slender thread over a bottomless abyss! Drunk with success." Sakuni replied: "Is it so? We shall be glad to win your beloved prince. He strikes terror into the heart of demons and is equal to Indra. and felt the end of the world was come. I shall be your slave. but it will engulf you!" Having thus reprimanded Duryodhana.Sakuni asked: "Is there anything else that you can offer as wager?" Yudhishthira said: "Here is the beautiful sky-complexioned Nakula. The assembly trembled. he can never suffer the least dishonor and he is peerless throughout the world in physical strength. Sakuni alone turned toYudhishthira and said: "There is one jewel still in your possession by staking which you can yet free yourself. If you win."Yudhishthira lost Sahadeva too. Can you not continue the game cffering your wife Draupadi as wager?" Yudhishthira despairingly said: "I pledge her. So be lashed Yudhishthira with these words: "To you." Thus saying. I win. The wicked Sakuni asked: "Is there any thing else you can offer?" Dharmaputra replied: "Yes. my brother. With tears in his eyes. living an evil life. do you seek to divide us? How can you." At once Duryodhana turned to Vidura and said: "Go and fetch Draupadi. is our leader in battle." Sakuni answered: "I cast the dice" and he played. The stubborn madness of unbroken misfortune carried Yudhishthira further and deeper. his brothers and Karna shouted with exultation. The assembly looked on in stunned silence. replied: "Fool. now thoroughly reckless and stung to the quick by the sneering imputation that he held his step-brothers cheap. still I do so. the beloved wife of the Pandavas. The more emotional wept. I know. Others perspired. After that Sakuni stood up in the assembly and shouted the names of each of the five Pandavas and loudly proclaimed that they had all become his lawful slaves. You will not offer them. In that group Yuyutsu alone bent his head in shame and sorrow and heaved a deep sigh. He is famous for his infinite knowledge in all the arts." and he trembled unwittingly. are no doubt dearer than the sons of Madri. Let her come without delay. She must hence forward sweep and clean our house. He is one of my riches. Here is myself. Sakuni cast the dice and won.

" Duryodhana was angry at these words of Vidura and told Prathikami. I have come by Duryodhana's command to take you to serve in his household as maid servant. why do you delay? You are now ours." Then he told her the whole story of how Yudhishthira had lost all his wealth and had finally betted her. heart-stricken with sorrow and started to fly for refuge to the inner apartments of Dhritarashtra's queen. She asked: "Prathikami. Go forth and bring Draupadi immediately." Draupadi. which will hereafter be your office. expert in the art? Since . what do you say? Which prince would pledge his wife? Had he nothing else to pawn?" Prathikami answered: "It is because he had already lost all other possessions and had nothing else left that he played offering you as a stake. Yudhishthira remained speechless. caught her by the hair and dragged her to the assembly. Now you belong to Duryodhana. turning to Yudhishthira. said: "O charioteer. Draupadi soon regained her fortitude and. Then Duryodhana bade Prathikami bring Panchali herself there to question her husband. Though the news was such as to break the heart and kill the soul. It is with a shudder of repugnance that we relate how the sons of Dhritarashtra stooped to commit this vilest of deeds. with anger blazing from her eyes. regardless of the advice of their friends and well-wishers. was dumbfounded. the mean-minded Duryodhana desires you to go to the assembly and ask your question yourself. the wicked Duhsasana at once sped with joy on his errand. Make yourself agreeable to us. Go and fetch Draupadi even if you have to drag her here. return. DRAUPADI'S GRIEF PRATHIKAMI went to Draupadi as ordered by his master. beautiful lady. Duryodhana turned to his brother Duhsasana and said: "This man is a fool and is afraid of Bhima. I see that the ruin of the Kauravas is imminent. He proceeded to the place where Draupadi was. As soon as she came to the assembly. Come to the assembly" and in his impatience. Draupadi controlled her anguish and appealed to the elders gathered there: "How could you consent to my being staked by the king who was himself trapped into the game and cheated by wicked persons.Panchali as by then he had himself already lost his freedom and lost all rights." Prathikami did so. Enraged. Ask of him who played the game whether in it he first lost himself." Prathikami went to the assembly and." Draupadi answered: "No. he bade as though to take her thither by force. Yudhishthira fell under the spell of the game of dice and has wagered and lost even you. Panchali rose trembling. Ask this question in the open assembly. at this strange message. Duhsasana darted after her. and that. Return to the assembly and put the question and demand an answer. or his wife. Be not shy. his charioteer: "Vidura is jealous of us and he is afraid of the Pandavas. now that you have been won by us. the sons of Dhritarashtra are on the path to hell. asked of him the question put by Draupadi. Prathikami went again to Draupadi and humbly said: "Princess." 26. after having first forfeited his brothers and himself. still. shouting: "Come. the spouse of the emperor who had performed Rajasuya." Thus commanded. He said to her: "O revered princess. Bring me his answer and then you can take me. But you are different.

how could he have a right to offer her as a stake? And there is this further objection. Even the clothes they have on are now Sakuni's property. There were great shouts of applause. The plot devised by our enemies is entangling us also in its meshes and inciting us to wicked action. Draupadi had already come into Sakuni's possession. Vikarna. forsake me not in this horror more cruel than death"' At this heart-broken cry. as of a poor fawn stricken to death. included Draupadi. if you believe in God and dharma. Yudhishthira was enticed to this game by a deeply plotted invitation and he pledged this lady when he had no right to do so. For that reason alone the wager is illegal. have left the daughter of Drupada to the mercy of these ruffians. why are you silent? I am a mere youth. Besides. flung off their upper garments to show that they were ready to follow the path of honor and right at any cost." Arjuna however remonstrated gently with Bhima: "You have never before spoken thus. Dharma has been saved." With a superhuman effort. If we consider all these points. worse than they. and turning to Yudhishthira he said bitterly: "Even abandoned professional gamblers would not stake the harlots who live with them. the Pandavas. the elders hung their heads in grief and shame. feeling that they had to stand the test of dharma to the bitter end. By your ignorance and rashness you are injuring the very family which gave you birth." When the young Vikarna spoke thus courageously. Hence. Yudhishthira had already lost his freedom. They shouted: "Dharma has been saved. when Yudhishthira was a free man. I cannot bear this injustice. This is my opinion. He rose up and said: "O Kshatriya heroes. Beware. the stick. I know." At that moment Karna rose up and said: "O Vikarna.he was no longer a free man. Bhima could hold himself no longer. could not bear the sight of the agony of Panchali. bring fire. but your silence compels me to speak. the son of Dhritarashtra. the wisdom given by God to the members of the assembly suddenly illumined their minds. O Duhsasana. because she does not belong to Yudhishthira alone. and being no longer a free man. Seeing this. how could he stake anything at all?" Then. We should not succumb and play their game. His swelling heart found relief in a roar of wrath that shook the very walls. There is nothing more to be said in the matter. It was Sakuni who suggested her as a pledge. Brother Sahadeva. At the very beginning. You are the cause of this great crime. under which neither player may demand a specific bet. which is against the rules of the game. we must admit that Panchali has not been legally won by us. just as the flame generated by the arani destroys its source. stretching out her arms and raising her flowing eyes in agonised supplication she cried in a voice broken with sobs: "If you have loved and revered the mothers who bore you and gave you suck. forgetting that there are elders in this assembly." As soon as they heard the cruel words of Karna. of course. he forfeited all he possessed and that. Listen. I am going to set fire to those hands of his which cast the dice. you lay down the law though you are but a stripling. seize the garments of the Pandavas and the robes of Draupadi and hand them over to Sakuni. if the honor of wife or sister or daughter has been dear to you. and you. It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest. Duhsasana went to Draupadi and made ready to seize her clothes by . Bhima controlled his anger.

If we must play again we must. ever fresh garments were seen to clothe her body. even then. Yudhishthira said: "Good and evil come from destiny and cannot be avoided. Incited by Duhsasana. No self-respecting kshatriya could decline an invitation to a game of dice. After Yudhishthira and his brothers had departed. and in the anguish of utter helplessness. All earthly aid had failed. as the wicked Duhsasana started his shameful work of pulling at Panchali's robes and good men shuddered and averted their eyes. Duryodhana upbraided his father with having frustrated their well-laid plans on the very threshold of success. Forgive in your magnanimity the evil done by Duryodhana and dismiss all memory of it from your mind. He spoke in detail on the prowess of the Pandavas and expressed his conviction that the only hope of overcoming the Pandavas lay in guile and taking advantage of their pride and sense of honor. loudly uttered this terrible oath: "May I never go to the blest abode of my ancestors if I do not rend the breast and drink the heart's blood of this sinful Duhsasana. there was a long and angry discussion in the palace of the Kauravas. He called Draupadi to his side and attempted to soothe her with words of gentleness and affection. and seeing a miracle in this sudden release from calamity. Protect me. Duryodhana secured his doting father's reluctant and ominous approval to a plan to entice Yudhishthira once again to a game of dice." Truly.force. Then. Rama went in vain pursuit of what seemed one. Sakuni and others. A messenger was accordingly dispatched after Yudhisthira who had taken his departure for Indraprastha. portending calamities to come. the judgment is first destroyed. bewildered and stunned." Suddenly. I must accept it. she implored divine mercy and succour: "O Lord of the World. The assembly trembled at this marvel and good men praised God and wept. But it was too good to endure. A challenge to dice cannot in honor be refused. Return to Indraprastha. the howling of jackals could be heard. as Sri Vyasa says: "There never was and never can be an antelope of gold! Yet. that is all. though . In vain Duhsasana toiled to strip off her garments. You are my sole refuge. in the mercy of God a miracle occurred. this shame of the Bharata race. for as he pulled off each. for once acted with wisdom and courage. Bhima with quivering lips. Then he turned to Yudhishthira and said: "You are so blameless that you can have no enemies. Dhritarashtra who realised that this incident would be the cause of the destruction of his race. Take back your kingdom and riches and everything else and be free and prosperous. On hearing this invitation. and soon a great heap of resplendent clothes was piled up before the assembly till Duhsasana desisted and sat down in sheer fatigue. "God whom I adore and trust. abandon me not in this dire plight. He quoted Brihaspati's aphorism that no device could be considered wrong which had as its object the destruction of formidable enemies. He came up with Yudhishthira before the latter had reached his destination and invited him on behalf of king Dhritarashtra to come back." And the Pandavas left that accursed hall. Donkeys and carnivorous birds began to send forth weird dissonant cries from all sides. when calamities are imminent." she wailed." Dharmaputra returned to Hastinapura and set again for a game with Sakuni." And she fainted away. Surely.

the priest. As destiny would have it. her dishevelled hair covering her face and her eyes streaming with tears. Bhima went behind with his eyes lowered on his arms. he is the brother-in-law and fast friend of the Pandavas. Dhritarashtra was filled with ever-greater fear and anxiety than before. Arjuna proceeded scattering sand on his path. Vidura replied: "Yudhishthira. went along with them singing the Sama hymns. Nakula and Sahadeva besmeared their bodies with dust and closely followed Yudhishthira. Your actions tend in the same direction and your days . the sage Narada suddenly appeared before them. they should go again into exile for twelve years. Duryodhana and his companions were filled with fear and approached Drona with a prayer never to abandon them." When he heard these words. who. and the Pandavas took the vows of those who are to go to the forest. On all sides cries arose of: "Fie and Alas! Does not God see this from His heaven?" The blind Dhritarashtra sent for Vidura and asked him to describe the departure of the Pandavas into exile. I shall tell you in their own words what the citizens of all castes and creeds say: 'Our leaders have left us. he has performed a sacrifice so that he might be blessed with a son who would kill me. addressed to Yama. whatever happened. now walked away from their birthright on weary feet. the son of Kunti.' While the citizens blame us thus. It is said Dhrishtadyumna is that son. Needless to say. Narada declared: "Fourteen years from this day the Kauravas will become extinct as the result of the crime committed by Duryodhana" and vanished from sight. Fie on the elders of the Kuru race who have suffered such things to happen! The covetous Dhritarashtra and his sons have driven away the sons of Pandu to the forest. The stake played for was that the defeated party should go with his brothers into exile to the forest and remain there for twelve years and spend the thirteenth year incognito. He asked: "What do the citizens say?" Vidura answered: "O great king. DHRITARASHTRA'S ANXIETY WHEN the Pandavas set out for the forest. But destiny is all-powerful. accompanied by weeping crowds. I shall strive for them. there arose a great clamor of lamentation from people who thronged the streets and climbed the roofs and towers and trees to see them go. The Pandavas will surely return from exile. If they were recognised in the thirteenth year. of yore. burning with anger. for I dethroned and dishonored Drupada on account of my anger towards him. Yudhishthira met with defeat on this occasion also. heart and soul. and there are other evil portents. Drona answered gravely: "I believe with the wise that the Pandavas are of divine birth and unconquerable.everyone in the assembly tried to dissuade him." While Dhritarashtra and Vidura were conversing thus. All the members of the assembly bent down their heads in shame. and the distressed earth quakes. And things are moving as foreordained. went with his face covered with a cloth. Implacably revengeful. Yet my duty is to fight for the sons of Dhritarashtra who rely on me and whose salt I eat. 27. Dhaumya. He seemed a mere pawn moved by Kali to relieve the burden of the world. the Lord of Death. the heavens are vexed with cloudless lightning. I should know what anger is. The princes. rode in jewelled chariots or on lordly elephants to strains of auspicious music. Draupadi accompanied Dharmaputra.

while driving the wise Vidura to the Pandavas. the sage Maitreya came to the court of Dhritarashtra and was welcomed with great respect." At first Dhritarashtra would listen in sad silence when Vidura spoke thus. Recall Yudhishthira from the forest and make peace with him. Lose no time in doing good while you may. But gradually his patience wore thin with repeated homilies. of course. Sanjaya hurried to the hermitage where the Pandavas were staying and found them clad in deer-skin and surrounded by sages." he burst out." But later he called for Sanjaya and asked him to bear a repentant message to Vidura imploring him to forgive the thoughtless words of an unhappy father and to return. How can I give him up? What is the use of advising such an unnatural course? I have lost my faith in you and do not need you anymore. for he knew Vidura to be a wiser man than himself who wished him well. make peace withYudhishthira this is my counsel to you. You should even restrain Duryodhana by force if he will not listen to reason. But." Dhritarashtra said: "I did not follow the wise path of dharma and statesmanship but suffered myself to be misled by my foolish son and." Duryodhana was not at all pleased with these words of Drona. Dharmaputra has been cheated." Vidura used to advise Dhritarashtra earnestly. you will do what you like. Dhritarashtra embraced Vidura and the difference between them was washed away in tears of mutual affection. enjoy sinless pleasures. makes him act madly to his own ruin. Dhritarashtra was filled with anxious remorse. You do not seek our good. who was dharma incarnate. was greatly moved and returned to Hastinapura. Duryodhana was born of my loins. we are fast hastening towards the abyss. You are free to go to the Pandavas if you like. One day. the all destroyer. he retired to the inner apartments. utterly losing his sense of right and wrong. He also saw Vidura there and conveyed Dhritarashtra's message adding that the blind king would die broken-hearted if he did not return. He reflected thin himself: "What have I done? I have only strengthened Duryodhana. drove in a chariot with fleet horses to the forest where the Pandavas lived. give alms to the needy. Time. does not take a club and break the head of a man but by destroying his judgment. "you are always speaking for the Pandavas and against my sons. The soft-hearted Vidura. He would often tell him: "Your son has committed a great wrong. Your sons have grossly insulted Panchali and put themselves on the path of destruction. Duryodhana. Dhritarashtra could stand it no longer. Vidura sorrowfully felt that the destruction of the Kuru race was certain and. Was it not your duty to turn your children to the path of virtue and pull them away from vice? You should order even now that the Pandavas get back the kingdom granted to them by you. turning his back on Vidura. perform great sacrifice." Then. Sanjaya asked Dhritarashtra: "O king. . The victim of adverse fate will first become perverted. "O Vidura. as you say.are numbered. Nemesis will overtake you in the fourteenth year. One day. taking Dhritarashtra at his word. why are you worried?" The blind king replied: "How can I know peace after having injured the Pandavas?" Sanjaya said: "What you say is quite true.

Ugrasena imposed a stringent ban upon drinking and amusements generally for the period of the siege. tearing the ground with his feet and without granting an answer. Krishna. KRISHNA'S VOW As SOON as the news of the slaying of Sisupala by Krishna reached his friend Salva." Later. Otherwise it will have effect. old Ugrasena was in charge of the defence of the city." and strode indignantly out of the assembly. Are they well? Will mutual affection abide in our family without any diminution?" Maitreya said: "I accidentally met Yudhishthira in the Kamyaka forest. Krishna having not yet returned to Dwaraka. I learnt of the events that took place in Hastinapura.Dhritarashtra craved his blessing and asked him: "Revered sir. he became very angry and besieged Dwaraka with a mighty force. All entrances to the city were guarded with barbed wire and permits and passwords strictly controlled ingress and egress. The pay of the soldiers was increased. All the bridges were demolished and ships were forbidd enentry into ports in the realm. Maitreya said: "My curse will not work if your son makes peace with the Pandavas. by attacking and defeating him." At this Dhritarashtra jumped up. and I marvelled that such things should have been permitted while Bhishma and yourself were alive. The sieges described in the Mahabharata seem very much like those in wars of the present day. when he returned. At once be set out for the forest where the Pandavas were living. The sages of the place had come to see him. turned away. It was only afterwards that Krishna learnt for the first time of the events at Hastinapura. was struck to the heart at the sufferings of his beloved city and he compelled Salva immediately to raise the siege. Volunteers for service were rigidly tested before being accepted as soldiers. and the Kekayas who were all devoted to the Pandavas. the king of the Chedi country. Dwaraka was a strongly garrisoned fortress built on an island and well provided with means of defence. Ample barracks had been provided and there was an abundant supply of food and weapons and the garrison included many illustrious warriors. Along with Krishna went many. The siege was so rigorously pushed that the garrison suffered great privations. Thus no arrangements were neglected that could further strengthen the city which nature had already made impregnable. including men of the Bhoja and Vrishni tribes. . 28. The obstinate and foolish Duryodhana merely laughed. for his own good. Dhrishtaketu. Maitreya grew angry and looking at Duryodhana said: "Are you so arrogant and do you slap your thighs in derision of one who wishes you well? Your thighs will be broken by a Bhima's mace and you will die on the battlefield. the Pandavas. in Kurujangala. fell at the feet of the sage and begged forgiveness. Maitreya saw Duryodhana who was also in the court and advised him. the game of dice and the exile of the Pandavas. slapping his thighs in derision and. Iron spikes were planted in the moats around the fortress a the city walls kept nd in good repair. not to injure but to make peace with the Pandavas who were not only mighty themselves but related to Krishna and Drupada. you have certainly met my beloved children.

told the story of her wrongs. Krishna was deeply moved and he consoled the weeping Draupadi. the wife of five heroes. Wipe your eyes. Bhima's bodily strength and Arjuna's Gandiva bow were alike of no avail. for the grief convulsed her. You will become an empress. Bhima and Draupadi used. It grieves me that I am not able to remove your sorrows immediately but you know. O Janardhana. I would have gone there and stirred up Drona. was dragged by my hair. as declared in scriptures: "For protecting the righteous. Abhimanyu." Sri Krishna said: "When this calamity befell you." Then Krishna took leave and returned to Dwaraka with Subhadra. I solemnly promise that your grievous wrongs shall be amply avenged. at all costs. Even Bhishma and Dhritarashtra forgot my birth and breeding and my relationship to them. It was only after I had defeated him that I came to know of the game of dice and the subsequent sordid story. Under such supreme provocation even weaklings would have found strength and courage to strike the vile insulter dead. the Himalayas may split in twain. the charioteer's son. was dishonored. 29. He said: "Those who tormented you will be stricken to death in the bloody quagmire of a lost battle. I tell you verily.They were filled with righteous indignation when they heard of Duryodhana's perfidy and cried out that surely the earth would drink the blood of such wicked people. even you had deserted me. He said: "I will kill Drona. my words shall stand. PASUPATA IN the beginning of their stay in the forest. even my husbands did not protect me from the jeers and the ribald insults of those foul ruffians. some water must be lost before a broken dam is restored. I was in Dwaraka." She stood trembling. utterly unable to continue. I swear this. O Madhusudana. I was fighting King Salva who had besieged my city. and their child." and Krishna took a solemn vow before Draupadi. it will be seen. I shall help the Pandavas in every way. Uninvited." Dhrishtadyumna also consoled his sister and told her how nemesis would overtake the Kauravas. have prevented this destructive play of dice. This vow. When Sakuni was cheating you. The sons of Dhritarashtra insulted me most outrageously and gloated over my agony. for destroying the wicked and for firmly upholding the law. was in perfect accord with the purpose of the Lord's avatars. but. Had I been in Hastinapur. to argue with Yudhishthira. They would plead that only righteous anger befitted a kshatriya and that . The heavens may fall. the earth may crumble or the boundless sea may dry up. I would. the daughter-in-law of the emperor Pandu. She said: "I was dragged to the assembly when I had but a single garment on my body. I. The Pandavas are renowned heroes and yet Duryodhana lives! I. Arjuna will slay Karna. I am born on earth age after age. Draupadi approached Sri Krishna and. the wife of Arjuna. in a voice drowned in tears and broken with sobs. Dhrishtadyumna went back to Panchala taking with him the sons of Draupadi. Bhima will take the lives of the wicked Duryodhana and his brothers. on occasions. I would never have allowed this fraudulent game of dice to take place. They thought that I had become their slave and accosted me and treated me as one. Sikhandin will cause Bhishma's fall. Kripa and the other elders to a sense of duty.

Karna is a brave and skilful fighter. He would say: "Our enemy has such adherents as Bhurisravas. Bhishma. A handful of grass thrown to a tired bull ought to be enough as expiation for breaking such a promise. Those miscreants have seized our kingdom by fraud and are enjoying it. It scorches Arjuna and myself day and night." Thus Yudhishthira managed with difficulty to restrain the impatience of the younger Pandavas. Nakula and Sahadeva live in hiding? Can the famous Draupadi walk about unrecognized by others? Even if we do these impossible things. the scriptures enjoin on a kshatriya sternness and enterprise." Bhima was never tired of pressing his view. Bhishma and Drona. Many feudatory princes. Karna and Aswatthama. She said: "O Dhananjaya. may you prosper in your mission. Vain is the birth of a kshatriya who does not conquer his deceitful enemies. the son of Dhritarashtra will find out through his spies. There is no higher duty for a kshatriya. You have become a brahmana by temperament. such hell is heaven. this promise of ours is impossible of performance and has been put on us merely to thrust us out again for another thirteen years. The sastras too support me when I say that a filched promise is no promise. They would quote weighty authorities and argue vehemently in support of their contention. We should not let the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra have their way. This is my opinion. and to me. Hence. indeed. May God give you all that Kuntidevi hoped and wished for when you were born. making us sleepless. Yudhishthira would firmly reply that they should abide by the promise they had made and that forbearance was the highest virtue of all. Bhima was burning with impatience to attack and kill Duryodhana immediately and win back the kingdom. There is no use in being hasty. Arjuna went to the Himalayas to practise austerities for the purpose of getting new weapons from the devas. You are born as a kshatriya and yet you do not think or behave like one. You should resolve to kill our enemies immediately. Duryodhana and his brothers are expert in warfare. How can the world-renowned Arjuna live incognito? Can the Himalayas be hidden under a handful of grass? How can the lion-hearted Arjuna. have no respect for Duryodhana's character. Draupadi also would refer to the dishonor she had suffered at the hands of Duryodhana.patience and forbearance under slights and insults were not worthy of him. Drona. if we go to hell by killing a deceitful foe. The course of war is unpredictable and success is uncertain. Karna and Duhsasana and would quote authorities from the scriptures that would give Yudhishthira anxiety to think. well versed in the use of all the weapons. You say that we should abide by our promise. He would sometimes answer with common maxims of politics and refer to the relative strength of the parties. as well as mighty monarchs. Your intellect has become confused. while you lie torpid like a gorged python. You know. are now on their side. Your forbearance burns us worse than fire. Bhima said to Yudhishthira: "You speak like those who repeat Vedic mantras and are satisfied with the sound of the words though ignorant of their meaning. . but will not give him up and are prepared to sacrifice their lives on his side in the battlefield. The happiness. Arjuna took leave of his brothers and went to Panchali to bid her farewell. as advised by Vyasa. Later. He thought it unworthy of warriors to continue to dwell tamely in the forest.

" He also added that it was his shaft that had killed the boar. You do not look tough enough to be a forester. was struck with amazement. honor and prosperity of us all depend on you. The chase grew fast and furious." Indra replied: "O Dhananjaya. To his amazement. He jumped up and showered snake-like arrows at Siva. The sword was split into pieces on the hunter's adamantine frame. The ascetic smiled and spoke affectionately to Arjuna: "Child. who live in it. Bless me with weapons. who had been disarmed with humiliating ease by one who seemed an ordinary hunter of the forest. Arjuna bowed to his father and said: "I seek arms. where he met an old brahmana. full of game. who shot an arrow into it with his Gandiva bow at the same moment that the hunter Siva transfixed it with a shaft from his Pinaka bow. It is rather for me to ask what you are doing here. Arjuna humbly sought divine aid and meditated on Siva. and presently a wild boar started charging Arjuna.life. and obtain his grace. As he did so." Arjuna passed through dense forests and reached the mountain of Indrakila. Then. Arjuna. Siva under the guise of a hunter and accompanied by his divine spouse Umadevi. Do penance unto Siva." The thousand-eyed said: "If you be blessed by the vision of god Siva. Return after acquiring new weapons. But here again he was outmatched. But undaunted. Your limbs and bearing bespeak a soft luxurious life. belongs to us." Thus saying Indra disappeared. they seemed to have no effect on the hunter and fell back hurtless like storm-driven rain from a mountain peak. he started to strike Siva with his bow. But the hunter seemed not to heed it and wrenched with ease the bow out of Arjuna's hand and burst into laughter. the king of gods. I have come here after leaving Panchali and my brothers in the forest. There was now nothing to do but to grapple with the formidable unknown. Arjuna shouted in loud voice: "Who are you? Why are you ranging in this forest with your wife? How dare you shoot at the game I had aimed at?" The hunter replied as though in contempt: "This forest. a light broke on his . When he had no more arrows. The hunter caught him in an iron clasp so close that Arjuna was quite helpless. the three-eyed god. who came to have the pleasure of meeting his son." Arjuna answered: "O king of gods. What do you seek in this garb of a kshatriya in this abode of ascetics and saints who have conquered anger and passion?" That was Indra. and that if Arjuna thought differently be was welcome to fight about it. what is the use of weapons? Ask for pleasures or seek to go to higher worlds for enjoyment. yet the benediction was Kunti the mother's for the words were: "May God give all that Kuntidevi wished and hoped for when you were born. Nothing could please Arjuna better. entered the forest in pursuit of game. Who are you? Weapons are of no use here. he drew his sword and continued the combat. I seek but weapons. Worsted and overmastered. It is noteworthy that though the voice was Draupadi the wife's. you will receive divine weapons. Arjuna went to the Himalayas and did penance to obtain the grace of Siva. almost amounting to doubt. I do not seek pleasures of higher worlds. you are clad in armor and carry weapons." Thus Panchali sent him forth with auspicious words.

of which he had been deprived. "I forgive you. in a broken voice of repentance and adoration he prayed for forgiveness. When the stipulated period of exile is over the kings of Panchala. said: "O Balarama. Arjuna was overcome with joy and exclaimed: "Have I really seen the Lord face to face and have I been blessed with his divine touch? What more do I need?" At that moment. AFFLICTION IS NOTHING NEW BALARAMA and Krishna came with their retinue to the abode of the Pandavas in the forest. When he wants us to fight. He also bestowed on Arjuna the marvellous Pasupata weapon." said Siva and vanished from view like the setting sun." Yudhishthira was delighted at these words of Krishna. "Go to heaven and render dutiful respect to your father Indra." Vasudeva. Should we wait till Yudhishthira asks us to do our duty for the Pandavas? While you and Krishna and all other relations are living. But the Pandavas would not like to receive from the hands of others what they have not won by their own efforts. This is good for them and befits us as men of valor. born of a heroic race as she is. battered in the unequal combat. "Sri Krishna knows my mind. would not hear of it. this is no time for lamenting. as well as the other weapons. came there with his chariot and took Arjuna to the kingdom of the gods. Seeing such unmerited prosperity and undeserved privation." With these words Yudhishthira gave them leave to return. who was seated near. the wicked Duryodhana is ruling his kingdom clad in silk and gold. The heroes of the Vrishni race may now return with the certainty that we shall meet again when the time is ripe. For see. Arjuna's body. the charioteer of Indra. he shall find us ready. Why. said: "What you say is true. why should the Pandavas waste their precious years in the forest? Let us collect our forces and attack Duryodhana. born from the sacrificial fire. we are surely strong enough to destroy the Kauravas. Yudhishthira will never give up the path of righteousness for love or fear. Balarama said to Krishna: "O Krishna. it would seem that virtue and wickedness bear contrary fruit in this life. He fell at the feet of the Lord and. Matali." Satyaki. Draupadi for one. With the army of the Vrishnis. men have lost their faith in God. "Truth is greater than power or prosperity and has to be guarded at all costs and not the kingdom. Arjuna was still away in the Himalayas and Bhima's anxiety and impatience ." said Siva smilingly and gave him back his Gandiva bow." said he. was made whole and perfect by the divine touch of the three-eyed god and became a hundred fold stronger and more brilliant than before. How will Dhritarashtra justify his conduct and defend himself when he is face to face with the god of death? Even the mountains and the earth weep at the sight of the blameless Pandavas dwelling in the forests with the blessed Draupadi. Kekaya and Chedi and ourselves will unite our forces to help the Pandavas to conquer their enemies. Let us kill Duryodhana and his adherents in the battlefield and hand over the kingdom to Abhimanyu if the Pandavas wish to keep their word and stay in the forest. The praise of virtue in the sastras seems mere mummery when we see the actual results of good and evil in this world. Deeply distressed by what he saw. who was listening carefully to this speech. while the virtuous Yudhishthira lives in the forest wearing the bark of trees.troubled mind. and at once he knew who the hunter really was. 30. where is the need to foil Karna's vaunted archery and cut off his head.

If we could. He said to Yudhishthira: "You know that our life depends on Arjuna. Dharmaputra affectionately embraced him and sought to restrain his impetuosity. Nala was tried by sorrows more agonising than yours. we would be perfectly justified in doing so. We should immediately recall Arjuna and wage war with the sons of Dhritarashtra. Yudhishthira said to him: "Revered sage. nor Satyaki nor even Sri Krishna can save us. he deserted his wife who had accompanied him. After a while. the hero. that is not true. which can compress time and reduce its span. has not returned as yet and we miss him sorely. Your mind is sound and steady." The sage then narrated the life of Nala which constitutes twenty-eight chapters of the great epic. you may. Be assured of it. as soon as the period of thirteen years is over. squeeze thirteen years into thirteen days. The influence of Kali. After this clear duty is done. Duryodhana and his followers. Have you heard of king Nala of Nishadha? He suffered more sorrows than yourself even in the forest. Karna and Duryodhana are slain. And not knowing what he was doing. he had not with him his brothers or brahmanas. because things felt are more than things heard or seen. Arjuna will return with divine weapons and you will conquer your enemies in the fitness of time. who left us a long time ago to get divine weapons. It is not a sin to kill by stratagem an enemy who has resorted to stratagem. the spirit of the dark age. our sorrows and sufferings. All this we owe to that mad game of dice. drew us into this game of dice and cheated us of our kingdom and riches." Hearing these words of Bhima. though everyone. the great sage Brihadaswa came to the hermitage of the Pandavas and was received with the customary honors. who are sunk in sin. cannot escape." The great sage replied: "Do not let your mind dwell on sorrow. and you will permit me on the fourteenth day to kill Duryodhana. by such means. is inclined to claim pre-eminence in sorrow. To be dwelling in the forest is not the duty enjoined on a kshatriya." While the sorrow-stricken brothers were thus engaged in debate. then neither the king of Panchala.became well nigh insupportable. Now. Arjuna. return to the forest and live a life of asceticism. if you like. He has been away very long. and we have had no tidings of him. our deceitful enemies. deprived him of his discrimination and good sense. Will he return with divine arms? And when will he be back? Surely never was there in this world a man who suffered so much sorrow as myself. Less fortunate than you. The sage concluded with these words: "O Pandava. I shall be satisfied only when the wicked Sakuni. You have the company of your heroic brothers and devoted wife and are supported by a few learned brahmanas in your adversity. If he should be lost to us. You say that there is no one in this world that is as unfortunate as you. Be patient till then. with the help of Sri Krishna. He was deceived by Pushkara at a game of dice. Arjuna. Self-pity is natural. tried by adversity. and yourself will fight and kill Duryodhana. as well as Panchali and myself. with the Gandiva bow. to the forest. solitary and almost mad. He lost his wealth and kingdom and had to go in exile to the forest. and wandered about in the forest. as well as the growing strength of our foes. I have heard that the Atharva Veda has incantations. but you are really not so badly off. and I for one cannot survive that loss. Now. "Beloved brother. yet he . and drove my heroic brothers. compare your state with his.

Soon the queen gave birth to a girl who was named Lopamudra. During the time Lopamudra and Agastya spent in tapas and meditation at Gangadwara. For conjugal .triumphed over them all and his life ended happily. who had been with Yudhishthira in Indraprastha. who. The story of Agastya was one such. Unquestioningly Lopamudra distributed her priceless jewels and garments amongst her companions and attendants. the t King of Panchala. might return to Dhritarashtra or. if they preferred i. Yudhishthira. with a greatly reduced retinue. Later. If you discharge not your debt to us by marrying and begetting progeny. In granting him the boon. When the princess set out to accompany the sage. for they are the lot of man and not peculiar to you. They replied: "Dear child. 31. the sage Agastya came to Vidarbha and demanded the hand of the king's daughter. the Pandavas started on a pilgrimage to holy places. she joyfully accompanied the sage. You have the alleviations of unclouded intellect and the society of your nearest and dearest. She grew with years into a maiden of such rare beauty and charm that she became celebrated in the kshatriya world. Agastya announced that the king would be the father of a beautiful girl. greatly concerned. and the marriage of Agastya and Lopamudra was celebrated in due course. therefore." When Agastya heard this. and was plunged in sorrow. Lopamudra. Later. Some time after Arjuna had gone on his quest of Pasupata. Agastya. he decided to marry. he bade her give up her costly garments and valuable jewels. But no prince dared to woo her for fear of Agastya. AGASTYA THE brahmanas. as were unaccustomed to hardship and to hard and scanty fare and those who had followed merely in token of loyalty. there will be no one after you to offer us oblations. The king was relieved. we are your ancestors. You spend much of your time in exalted contemplation of dharma and in holy converse with brahmanas who are learned in the Vedas and Vedantas. a brahmana sage named Lomasa came to the abode of the Pandavas. he stipulated should be given in marriage to him." Thus did the sage Brihadaswa console Yudhishthira. Bear your trials and tribulations with fortitude. it is said. It was difficult to maintain such a large establishment. The king was reluctant to give the delicately nurtured princess in marriage to a sage leading the primitive life of a forester but he also feared the anger of the sage if he said nay. He repaired to Agastya to get his blessing. resorted to this austerity. to marry the sage. go to Drupada. The king of the country of Vidarbha was childless and. so. in order to persuade you to save us from this peril. once saw some ancestral spirits dangling head down and asked them who they were and how they had come to be in that unpleasant plight. He advised Yudhishthira to minimize his retinue before going on pilgrimage as it would be difficult to move freely from place to place with a large following. discovered the cause of her parent's unhappiness and expressed her readiness. acquainting themselves with the stories and traditions relating to each. a strong and abiding love sprang up between them. had followed him to the forest. careworn. who had long felt that difficulty. announced to his followers that such of them. We have. nay her desire. and covering herself in deerskin and garments of bark.

life, Lopamudra's modesty shrank from the lack of privacy in a forest hermitage. And one day, with blushing and humbleness she expressed her mind to her husband. She said: "My desire is that I may have the royal bedding, the beautiful robes and the valuable jewels I had when I was in my father's place and that you too may have splendid garments and ornaments. And then we shall enjoy life to our heart's content." Agastya smilingly replied: "I have neither the wealth nor the facilities to provide what you want. Are we not beggars living in the forest?" But Lopamudra knew her lord's yogic power, and said: "Lord, you are allpowerful by the strength of your austerities. You can get the wealth of the whole world in a moment if you but will." Agastya said that no doubt that was so, but, if he spent his austerities in gaining things of such little moment as riches, they would soon dwindle to nothing. She replied: "I do not wish that. What I desire is that you should earn in the ordinary way sufficient wealth for us to live in ease and comfort." Agastya consented and set out as an ordinary brahmana to beg of various kings. Agastya went to a king who was reputed to be very wealthy. The sage told the king: "I have come in quest of wealth. Give me what I seek, without causing any loss or injury to others." The king presented a true picture of the income and expenditure of the State and told him he was free to take what he deemed fit. The sage found from the accounts that there was no balance left. The expenditure of a State turns out always to be at least equal to its income. This seems to have been the case in ancient times also.

Seeing this, Agastya said: "To accept any gift from this king, will be a hardship to the citizens. So, I shall seek elsewhere," and the sage was about to leave. The king said that he would also accompany him and both of them went to another State where also they found the same state of affairs. Vyasa thus lays down and illustrates the maxim that a king should not tax his subjects more than necessary for rightful public expenditure and that if one accepts as gift anything from the public revenues, one adds to the burden of the subjects to that extent. Agastya thought he had better go to the wicked asura Ilvala and try his luck. Ilvala and his brother Vatapi cherished an implacable hatred towards brahmanas. They had curious plan for killing them. Ilvala would, with effective hospitality, invite a brahmana to a feast. By the power of his magic he would transform his brother Vatapi into a goat and he would kill this pseudo-goat for food and serve its meat to the guest. In those days, the brahmanas used to eat meat. The feast over, Ilvala would invoke his brother Vatapi to come out, for he had the art of bringing back to life those whom he had killed. And Vatapi, who as food had entered the vitals of the unlucky brahmana, would spring up sound and whole and rend his way out with fiendish laughter, of course killing the guest in doing so. In this manner, many brahmanas had died. Ilvala was very happy when he learnt that Agastya was in the neighborhood, since he felt that here was a good brahmana delivered into his hands. So, he welcomed him and prepared the usual feast. The sage ate heartily of Vatapi transformed into a goat, and it only remained for Ilvala to call out Vatapi for the rending scene. And, as usual, Ilvala

repeated the magic formula and shouted: "Vatapi come out!" Agastya smiled and, gently rubbing his stomach, said: "O Vatapi, be digested in my stomach for the peace and good of the world." Ilvala shouted again and again in frantic fear: "O Vatapi, come forth." There was no response and the sage explained the reason. Vatapi had been digested. The trick had been tried once too often. The asura bowed to Agastya and surrendered to him the riches he sought. Thus was the sage able to satisfy Lopamudra's desire. Agastya asked her what she would prefer whether ten ordinarily good sons or one super-good son with the strength of ten. Lopamudra replied she would like to have one exceptionally virtuous and learned son. The story goes that she was blessed with such a gifted son. Once the Vindhyas became jealous of the Meru Mountain and tried to grow in stature, obstructing the sun, the moon and the planets. Unable to prevent this danger, the gods sought aid from Agastya. The sage went to the Vindhya Mountain and said: "Best of mountains, stop you’re growing till I cross you on my way to the south and return north again. After my return, you can grow, as you like. Wait till then." Since the Vindhya Mountain respected Agastya, it bowed to his request. Agastya did not return north at all, but settled in the south and so the Vindhyas remain arrested in growth to this day. Such is the story as narrated in the Mahabharata. 32. RISHYASRINGA IT is an error to think that it is easy for a person to lead a life of chastity if he is brought up in complete ignorance of sensual pleasures. Virtue guarded only by ignorance is very insecure as illustrated by

the following story. It is told in the Ramayana also, but not in the same detail. Vibhandaka who was resplendent like Brahma, the Creator, lived with his son Rishyasringa in a forest. The latter had not come across any mortal, man or woman, except his father. The country of Anga was once afflicted with a dire famine. Crops had withered for want of rain and men perished for lack of food. All living things were in distress. Romapada, the king of the country, approached the brahmanas to advise him of some means of saving the kingdom from famine. The brahmanas replied: "Best of kings, there is a young sage called Rishyasringa who lives a life of perfect chastity. Invite him to our kingdom. He has won the power, by his austerities, of bringing rain and plenty wherever he goes." The king discussed with his courtiers the means by which Rishyasringa could be brought from the hermitage of the sage Vibhandaka. In accordance with their advice, he called together the most charming courtesans of the city and entrusted them with the mission of bringing Rishyasringa to Anga. The damsels were in a quandary. On the one hand, they feared to disobey the king. On the other, they also feared the sage's wrath. Finally, they made up their minds to go, relying on Providence to help them, in achieving the good work of rescuing the stricken land from famine. They were suitably equipped for their enterprise before being sent to the hermitage. The leader of this band of courtesans made a beautiful garden of a big boat, with artificial trees and creepers, with an imitation ashrama in the center. She had the boat moored in the river near Vibhandaka's hermitage, and the courtesans visited the hermitage with quaking hearts. Luckily for them, the sage

was not at home. Feeling that this was the opportune moment, one of the beautiful damsels went to the sage's son. She thus addressed Rishyasringa: "Great sage, are you well? Have you sufficient roots and fruits? Are the penances of the rishis of the forest proceeding satisfactorily? Is your father's glory constantly growing? Is your own study of the Vedas progressing?" This was how rishis used to accost one another in those days. The youthful anchorite had never before seen such a beautiful human form or heard such a sweet voice. The instinctive yearning for society, especially of the opposite sex, though he had never seen a woman before, began to work on his mind from the moment he beheld that graceful form. He thought that she was a young sage like himself, and felt a strange irrepressible joy surging up in his soul. He answered, fixing eyes on his interlocutor: "You seem to be a bright brahmacharin. Who are you? I bow to you. Where is your hermitage? What are the austerities you are practising?" and he rendered her the customary offerings. She said to him: "At a distance of three yojanas from here is my ashrama. I have brought fruits for you. I am not fit to receive your prostration, but I shall return your greetings and salutation in the way customary with us." She embraced him warmly, fed him with the sweets she had brought, decorated him with perfumed garlands, and served him with drinks. She embraced him again, saying that that was their way of salutation to honored guests. He thought it a very agreeable way. Shortly after, fearing the return of the sage Vibhandaka, the courtesan took her leave of Rishyasringa saying it was time for her

to perform the agnihotra sacrifice and gently slipped out of the hermitage. When Vibhandaka returned to the hermitage, he was shocked to see the place so untidy with sweet meats scattered all over, for the hermitage had not been cleansed. The shrubs and creepers looked draggled and untidy. His son's face had not its usual lustre but seemed clouded and disturbed as by a storm of passion. The usual simple duties of the hermitage had been neglected. Vibhandaka was troubled and asked his son: "Dear boy, why have you not yet gathered the sacred firewood? Who has broken these nice plants and shrubs? Has the cow been milked? Has anyone been here to serve you? Who gave you this strange garland? Why do you appear worried?" The simple and ingenuous Rishyasringa replied: "A brahmacharin of wonderful form was here. I cannot describe his brightness and beauty or the sweetness of his voice. My inner being has been filled with indescribable happiness and affection by listening to his voice and looking at his eyes. When he embraced me, which it seems is his customary greeting, I experienced a joy which I have never felt before, no, not even when eating the sweetest fruits," and then he described to his father the form, beauty and the doings of his fair visitor. Rishyasringa added wistfully: "My body seems to burn w desire for the company ith of that brahmacharin and I should like to go and find him and bring him here somehow. How can I give you any idea about his devotion and brightness? My heart pants to see him." When Rishyasringa had thus brokenly expressed yearnings and disturbances to which he had hitherto been a stranger, Vibhandaka knew what had occurred. He said: "Child, this was no brahmacharin

that you saw, but a malignant demon who sought, as demons do, to beguile us and hinder our penances and austerities. They take recourse to many kinds of tricks and stratagems for the purpose. Do not let them come near you." After that Vibhandaka searched in vain for three days in the forest to find out the wretches who had done this injury, and returned baffled it his purpose. On another occasion, when Vibhandaka had gone out of the hermitage to bring roots and fruits, the courtesan again came softly to the place where Rishyasringa was seated. As soon as he saw her at a distance, Rishyasringa jumped up and ran to greet her gushingly, as pent up water surges out of a reservoir that has sprung a leak. Even without waiting for prompting this time, Rishyasringa went near her and after the customary salutation said: "O shining brahmacharin, before my father returns let us go to your hermitage." This was just what she had hoped and worked for. And together they entered the boat, which had been made to look like a hermitage. As soon as the young sage had entered, the boat was freed from its moorings and floated easily down with its welcome freight to the kingdom of Anga. As might be expected, the young sage had a pleasant and interesting journey and when he reached Anga, he certainly knew more about the world and its ways than he had done in the forest. The coming of Rishyasringa delighted Romapada infinitely and he took his welcome guest to the luxuriously provided inner apartments specially prepared for him. As foretold by the brahmanas, rain began to pour the instant Rishyasringa set his foot in the country. The rivers and the lakes were full and the people rejoiced.

Romapada gave his daughter Shanta in marriage to Rishyasringa. Though all ended as he had planned, the king was uneasy in his mind, for he was afraid that Vibhandaka might come in search of his son and pronounce a curse on him. So, he sought to mollify Vibhandaka by lining the route he would take with cattle and kind and by instructing the cowherds in charge to say that they were Rishyasringa's servants and had come to welcome and honor their master's father and place themselves at his service. Not finding his son anywhere in the hermitage, the enraged Vibhandaka thought that this might be the work of the king of Anga. He crossed intervening rivers and villages and marched to the capital of the king as if to burn him in his anger. But as at each stage of the journey he saw magnificent cattle which belonged to his son and was respectfully welcomed by his son's servants, his angry mood passed gradually as he approached the capital. When he came to the capital, he was received with great honor and taken to the king's palace where he saw his son sitting in state like the king of the gods in heaven. He saw by his side his wife, the princess Shanta, whose great beauty soothed and pleased him. Vibhandaka blessed the king. He laid this injunction on his son: "Do all that will please this king. After the birth of a son, come and join me in the forest." Rishyasringa did as his father bade him. Lomasa concluded the story with these words addressed to Yudhishthira: "Like Damayanti and Nala, Sita and Rama, Arundhati and Vasishtha, Lopamudra and Agastya, and Draupadi and yourself, Shanta and Rishyasringa repaired to the forest in the fullness of time and spent their lives in mutual love and the worship

He pursued his course of austerities with even greater rigor. But the son of Bharadwaja would not give up. It takes a long time and involves much hardship to learn the Vedas from a teacher." He continued: "There lived in their hermitages two eminent brahmanas." Then Lomasa expatiated in greater detail on the sanctity of the place. isn't it?" Yavakrida laughed and said: "What a fool you must be to think you can build a dam . named Bharadwaja and Raibhya. the Pandavas reached the hermitage of Raibhya on the banks of the Ganga. One morning. the mother of the gods. during his austerities. which have cast a cloud on your life. with handful after handful. offered oblations on this mountain and prayed to be blessed with a son. to the horror and the distress of the gods. who were dear friends. These waters cleansed Indra of the sin of killing Vritra unfairly. when he went to bathe in the Ganga. Bathe in these waters and be purified. Here also Sanatkumara became one with God. Useful work.of God. He tortured his body with austerities and thus awakened the compassion of Indra. seek a proper preceptor and learn the Vedas from him. he would never give up. I am performing these austerities to realise that desire. Yavakrida asked: "Old man. Raibhya and his two sons. Lomasa told them the story of the place: "This is the ghat where Bharata. Your father learnt the Vedas by patient study and so can you. Austerity is not the way to learning. people can cross the river with ease. Paravasu and Arvavasu. This is the hermitage where Rishyasringa. Anger and passion will be washed off if you bathe in the running waters of this river. Return home. lived. bathed. Yavakrida practised hard penance to gain the grace of Indra." The Pandavas bathed there and performed their devotions. he would cut off his limbs one by one and offer them as oblations to the fire. 33. learnt the Vedas and became famed scholars. who appeared and asked him why he so mortified his flesh. met with destruction in this very place. When. ascend this holy mountain and the misfortunes. I have built a dam of sand here. Aditi. Indra again manifested himself before Yavakrida and warned him again: "You have taken the wrong path to acquire knowledge. will vanish. O Yudhishthira." Yavakrida replied: "I wish to be more learned in the Vedas than any has ever been before. He continued his penance. See how very difficult it is at present to cross it. Go and study the Vedas. what are you doing?" The old man replied: "I am going to build a dam across this river. No. the son of Dasaratha. The path is study and study alone. I am practising austerities to acquire that knowledge directly. FRUITLESS PENANCE IN the course of their wanderings. the son of a sage." With these words Indra vanished. be saw a gaunt old brahmana on the bank. Bharadwaja devoted himself wholly to the worship of God. He had a son named Yavakrida who saw with jealousy and hatred that the brahmanas did not respect his ascetic father as they did the learned Raibhya. Desist from this vain mortification of the body. He began the story thus: "Yavakrida. you are on the wrong path." Indra smiled and said: "O brahmana. I wish to be a great scholar. Bless me. laboriously throwing handfuls of sand into the water. You can acquire knowledge only by study." Yavakrida did not heed even this second warning of Indra and announced defiantly that if his prayer were not granted.

In olden times there was a celebrated sage named Baladhi. I grant you the boon you seek. for the human race was necessarily mortal. One day. and this leads to the warping of the mind and utter destruction. you will become learned. They asked him to name his own limit. The very earth seemed to be under the spell of the god of love. Seeing this." He illustrated his advice by the ancient tale. Dhanushaksha took the form of a wild buffalo and by the power of his penances butted at the mountain and broke it to pieces and Medhavi fell down dead. He had a son whose untimely death plunged him into grief. Do not transgress the limits of good conduct and do not be disrespectful to the great Raibhya. . More humble this time. He accosted her and taking brutal advantage of her fear and shame and bewilderment. He thought it necessary to warm him. The trees and creepers were beautiful with flowers and the whole forest was gorgeous with color and sweet with the song of birds." It was springtime. The gods told the sage that this could never be. At once that sage cursed that he might be turned to ashes. Paravasu's wife was strolling alone in the garden near the hermitage of Raibhya. and comforted Yavakrida with the following words: "Well. Indra blessed." The old man said: "Is my project more foolish than yours of mastering the Vedas not by study but by austerities?" Yavakrida now knew that the old man was Indra. Yavakrida earnestly begged Indra to grant him learning as a personal boon. He grew vain with the thought that he had acquired the knowledge of the Vedas through the boon of Indra and not through human tutelage. this vain man showed disrespect to a great sage named Dhanushaksha. the high-souled sage was puzzled and then remembered the gift Medhavi had been endowed with at birth. At that time Yavakrida came there and was so overwhelmed by her loveliness that he completely lost his sense and selfcontrol and became as a ravening beast with lust. in the sweet union in her of beauty. be practised rigorous penance to get a son who would never meet with death. Bharadwaja did not like this and feared that his son might ruin himself by slighting Raibhya." 34. The sage replied: "In that case grant that the life of my son may persist as long as that mountain lasts. Bharadwaja concluded the story with this solemn warning to his son: "Learn wisdom from this old story. which is given below. courage and purity. Go and study the Vedas. and there need must be a limit to human life. but the curse took no effect on Medhavi who remained in perfect health. So. Be not ruined by vanity. Cultivate self-restraint. since he would live as long as the mountain existed. and he behaved with arrogance towards all. Medhavi grew conceited at the thought that he was safe from death forever. "grant boons to foolish people who persistently practise penances. They lead to loss of self-control.across this mighty river with your silly handfuls of sand! Arise and take to some more useful work. YAVAKRIDA'S END YAVAKRIDA studied the Vedas and became learned." he said." The boon was granted to him and he was duly blessed with a son named Medhavi. he dragged her to a lonely pot and violated her person. as intoxicants are sold to fools for money. "The gods. She appeared more than human.

His sin had consumed the power of his vigils and fasts. you died of your pride and vanity. He said: "But this mishap should not interfere with the sacrifice of the king. he sought refuge in the sacrificial hall of his father. He went to nearby stream. Regaining control soon. I have not only lost my only son. When Bharadvaja returned to his hermitage. He realised that the fatal mistake was the effect of the curse of Bharadwaja. he went to Arvavasu and told him the doleful tale. 35. he discovered that he had killed his own father clad in skins. Was it not a great mistake that you tried to learn the Vedas in a way not resorted to by any brahmana? Why did you behave so as to be cursed thus? May Raibhya. With the permission of their father. MERE LEARNING IS NOT ENOUGH KING Brihadyumna. the female spirit went near him and with smiles and allurements put him off his guard and as she ran away with his water-jug. he came upon his son's corpse and concluded that disrespect to Raibhya must have led to this cruel fate. the fiend overtook him and killed him with his spear. He plucked a hair from his bead and offered it to the fire reciting a mantra. with the demon hot on his heels. Please do . Knowing that his mantras would be of no avail until he cleansed himself with water. a maiden. What is the use of continuing my life?" He cremated his son's body and died by throwing himself on the funeral pyre. hurling his weapon at it. the male ghost rushed on him with uplifted spear. he reached his hermitage before dawn. Both of them bowed to the order. but in the madness of my grief I have also cursed my friend and companion. he was seized with implacable anger. At last. both of them went joyfully to the capital of the king. he looked for his water-jug. While arrangements were being made for the sacrifice. what seemed to him a beast of prey crouching for a spring and. He saw his daughter in-law weeping. be himself killed by one of his s ons!" Thus. mistaking him for a wild denizen of the forest. Yavakrida stood up in fear. The terrible fiend pursued him everywhere and Yavakrida fled for his life. But to his horror and grief. carried away by rage and grief the sage cursed Raibhya.Raibhya returned to his hermitage. he sought to force his way in. Meanwhile. he exclaimed in anguish: "Alas! They alone are blessed who have no sons. performed a great sacrifice at which he requested his teacher to let his two sons Paravasu and Arvavasu officiate. At once. which also dried up at his approach. When he had hastily performed the funeral rites of his father. brokenhearted and inconsolable and learning of the shameful outrage perpetrated on her. walking alone all night. distorted with mortal fear. The sage plucked another hair from his knotted lock and offered it as oblation. The half-blind man who was guarding the hermitage stopped him as be could not recognise Yavakrida as. he saw in the twilight. emerged from the sacrificial fire. While Yavakrida was performing the morning rites. A terrible ghost rose from the fire. as beautiful as his daughter-in-law. When he found it missing. a disciple of the sage Raibhya. There was no water for him anywhere. he rushed to a pond for water but the pond was dry. who caused the death of my only son. Paravasu desired one day to go and see his wife and. killed it. "Alas! My child. Near the hermitage. The sage commanded them to kill Yavakrida.

I have saved him by performing expiatory rites. retreated to the forest in despair of finding justice in the world and betook himself to rigorous austerities. It is just an outward show like our clothes and is no real part of us. Paravasu decided to dishonor him by casting on him an unjustice as a person and accordingly." Arvavasu and Paravasu were both sons of a great scholar. bathe here and wash off your passions in this holy river. Lomasa narrated this story to Yudhishthira at a place near Raibhya's hermitage and said: "O Pandavas. to his other sins. But this knowledge should soak into every thought and influence every act in one's life. That done. I shall do penance to free you from the terrible taint of having killed a father and a brahmana. which is a thing you cannot do as yet. mercifully. when Arvavasu entered the hall. The gods were gracious and asked him: "O virtuous soul." The virtuous Arvavasu. Becoming jealous of the radiance on his brother's face. I can officiate unaided. Paravasu loudly exclaimed so that the king might hear: "This man has committed the sin of killing a brahmana and how can he enter this holy sacrificial place?" Arvavasu indignantly denied the accusation but none heeded him. There is. what is the boon you seek?" High thinking and deep meditation had in the meantime cleansed his heart of all anger at his brother's conduct. Arvavasu repeatedly protested his innocence. Then indeed knowledge becomes virtue. The knowledge that is merely so much undigested information crammed into the mind. "It is my brother who has committed the sin and even then it was through a mistake. But learning is one thing and virtue is quite another. accordingly. took upon himself the expiatory rites on behalf of his brother." This made matters worse for him for nobody believed that the expiation he had undergone was not for his own crime and everyone thought that he was adding false accusation against a blameless brother. If you can be my substitute here for undergoing the expiation I shall be able to go and assist in conducting the king's sacrifice. It tainted his mind with wicked designs. ASHTAVAKRA WHILE the Pandavas were wandering among holy places in the forest. besides being falsely accused of a monstrous crime. he only prayed that his father might be restored to life and that his brother might be freed from wickedness and the sins that he had committed. It is true that one should know the difference between good and evil. atonement for sins committed in ignorance. The sin of Paravasu was not washed off.the rites on my behalf in expiation of the sin I have unwittingly committed. he came to the court of the king to join his brother and assist in the sacrifice. The virtuous Arvavasu who. cannot instill virtue. The gods granted his prayer. since expiation cannot be by proxy. if one is to seek good and shun evil. Both of them learnt at his feet and became eminent scholars themselves. was also slandered as a liar. and so. 36. and he was ignominiously expelled from that hall of sacrifice by the orders of the king." The virtuous brother agreed and said: "You may attend to the king's sacrifice. they came one day to the hermitage of the personages immortalized in the .

was made to drown himself. has to move and make way for the blind. The attendants of the king marched in front shouting: "Move away. the deformed. Make way for the King." Ashtavakra instead of moving out of the way said to the retainers: "O royal attendants. The couple was blessed with a son. as usual. Let me pass." The gatekeeper said: "Stop. Ashtavakra learnt that Janaka. which means "Eight crooked bends. How can y a mere ou. as he often did in reciting the Vedas. nor is age. Uddalaka. The gatekeeper stopped them and said: "Boys cannot go in. attached no great weight to his disciple's lack of erudition but really appreciated his virtues. When Kagola made mistakes." Kagola. persons bearing loads and brahmanas learned in the Vedas. A child generally inherits the characteristics of both the parents. But fortunately the grandson of Uddalaka took after his grandfather rather than his father and knew the Vedas even while he was in his mother's womb. Udalaka. nor tall. surprised at these wise words of the brahmana boy. the child in the womb would twist his body with pain. if he is righteous. Grey hairs do not prove the ripeness of the soul." Ashtavakra replied: "We are not mere boys. debate on the sastras. boy. Have done with your idle brag. One day. and so it came to pass that he had eight crooked bends in his body when he was born. had a disciple named Kagola. The really mature man is the one who has . Ashtavakra set out for Mithila." Ashtavakra and Svetaketu entered the sacrificial hall. one ill-fated day. Meanwhile Ashtavakra grew up to be a towering scholar even in his boyhood. even the king. observing to his attendants: "What this brahmana stripling says is true. though you talk like all the hoary sages. A very tall old man may be a tall old fool. On their way to the place of sacrifice at Mithila." The king. So. accompanied by his uncle Svetaketu. the court scholar of Mithila." Ashtavakra replied: "Gatekeeper. the other d isciples used to laugh and mock at him." The gatekeeper said: "You are certainly not old. Lomasa told Yudhishthira the story of that place. have learnt and realised the Vedanta?" The boy said: "You mean I am not big like an over-grown gourd with no substance in it? Size is no indication of knowledge or worth. Fire is fire whether it is tiny or big and it has the power to burn. however. who was virtuous and devoted but had no great learning. Those who have mastered the truths of the Vedanta will not judge another on mere considerations of age or appearance. they came across the king and his retinue. having been defeated. the king of Mithila was performing a great sacrifice in the course of which the assembled scholars would. and. Get out.Upanishads. provoked a polemical contest with Vandi. These crooked bends earned him the name of Ashtavakra. We have observed the necessary vows and have learnt the Vedas. and at the age of twelve he had already completed his study of the Vedas and the Vedanta. the fair sex. devotion and good conduct and gave his daughter Sujata in marriage to him. accepted the justness of the rebuke and made way. This is the rule enjoined by the scriptures. a great sage and teacher of Vedanta. Only old men learned in the Vedas may go into the sacrificial hall.

A father who is physically weak may have a very strong son and an ignorant father may have a scholarly son." Which shows that the unlearned Kagola was not devoid of common sense. and his supreme wish is to fight with Arjuna." Yudhishthira addressing his priest Dhaumya said: "I have sent my younger brother Arjuna to win divine weapons. The court pandit of Mithila bowed his head and paid the forfeit by drowning himself in the ocean and going to the abode of Varuna. for that may enable us to bear . each employing his utmost learning and wits to confound the other. I find no joy in life in the absence of Arjuna. gained peace and joy in the glory of his son. how do you feel?" Sahadeva said: "This hermitage seems to be empty without Arjuna. we cannot live here happily. who had gone to the Himalayas in quest of divine weapons. It is wrong to acesess the greatness of a man on his physical appearance or age. Karna knows the secret of divine weapons. for we miss him in all our accustomed haunts. Bhimasena told Draupadi: "Blessed lady. The author of the epic instructs us through these words put in Kagola's mouth: "A son need not be like his father. Please summon him. weapons with which we could conquer Bhishma. mastered their gist and realised their essence. Bereft of Arjuna. We shall try whether a change of scene will help us to bear the pain of separation better. the king of gods. And in the end the assembly unanimously declared the victory of Ashtavakra and the defeat of Vandi. I h sent Arjuna to ave gain Indra's grace and get weapons from him as the Kaurava heroes can be defeated by no other means. He has become arrogant and vain with easy victories over good men who were not real scholars. I have come here to repay the debt due on account of my father. I have no doubt I shall vanquish Vandi. My mind can know no peace without seeing Arjuna. BHIMA AND HANUMAN DRAUPADI used to complain frequently: "This Kamyaka forest is not beautiful without Arjuna. I am here to meet the court pandit Vandi. They took up a debatable thesis and started an argument. this beautiful forest seems desolate. Kripa and Aswatthama. The king asked: "Do you know that my court pandit Vandi has overthrown in argument many great scholars in the past and caused them to be cast into the ocean? Does that not deter you from this dangerous adventure?" Ashtavakra replied: "Your eminent scholar has not hitherto encountered men like me who are proficient in the Vedas on Vedanta. 37. External appearances are deceptive. the precociously wise boy he had met before. the father of Ashtavakra." The other Pandavas shared Draupadi's wretchedness at separation from Arjuna. I wish to go elsewhere.Then the spirit of Kagola. We have sent him to the Himalayas to get from Indra. Drona." Ashtavakra met Vandi. I myself feel the same about Arjuna and what you say makes me thrill with love and sympathy. who was defeated by this man and made to drown himself." At that moment the king himself came there and easily recognized Ashtavakra. That dauntless and dexterous hero has not yet returned. Sahadeva. Inform King Janaka of my desire. as I have heard from my mother. since it is certain that these heroes will fight on the side of the sons of Dhritarashtra. Having sent him on a very difficult errand. whom you will see crumple up like a broken-wheeled cart.learnt the Vedas and the Vedangas.

addressing Yudhishthira: "No one need carry me. Bhima. a breeze that blew from the northeast wafted a beautiful flower near Draupadi. sometimes helped by his son Ghalotkacha. they went to the charming forest of Narayanasrama and halted there. Yudhishthira embraced him and blessed him and wished him an increase of physical strength. When Bhima said these words. Eat what you like of the fruits of this place and if you are wise. Can you suggest where we could go?" Dhaumya described many forests and holy places. Men cannot cross this limit. Anxious to please his beloved Draupadi. He suggested that Bhima and Sahadeva should stay behind at Gangadwara with Draupadi. In the course of their wanderings through the Himalayan regions they came to a terrible forest where the path was rugged and steep. I can walk. on the Himalayas. unused to being taken so lightly. Who are you? Whither are you bound? It is not possible to go further along this mountain path which is the path of the gods. They spent many years in this pilgrimage and in listening to the traditions. Bhima could not leave Yudhishthira alone in this forest infested with Rakshasas. The way was hard. Bhima would not agree. Do not be anxious about me. He could carry Nakula and Sahadeva also. The Pandavas went the round of those places to relieve themselves to some extent from the pangs of separation. What a sweet fragrance! How charming! I shall hand this over to Yudhishthira." They reached Kulinda. but he could easily carry Draupadi across the most difficult parts of it. which sanctified each shrine. would serve and encourage them and make their labors easy. Draupadi smiled and said. He said that the pain of separation from Arjuna ought to have taught his brother how much he would suffer if he were parted from Sahadeva. which lay right across his path blocking it. We should grow this plant in our Kamyaka forest. He went alone in the direction from which the fragrance seemed to be borne by the breeze. and there he saw a huge monkey shining like blazing fire. They accepted the honors rendered to them by that king and rested there awhile. . go back in peace. "Come and see this flower. grew angry and shouted: "Who are you. Besides. demons and wild animals. Bhima went in quest of that plant. Draupadi took it in her hands and was so charmed with its fragrance and beauty that she showed it rapturously to Bhima. Draupadi and Bhima. It only half opened its eyes lazily and drawled: "I am indisposed and so I am lying here. It is proper that the rational man should show mercy to animals as interior creatures. One day. Later on." Draupadi ran to give the flower to Yudhishthira.the separation better. Draupadi would often feel exhausted by having to traverse mountains and forests. I am afraid you are ignorant of right and wrong. the kingdom of Subahu." Bhima. Why lid you wake me? You are a wise human being and I am mere animal. He presently came to a garden of plantain trees at the foot of a mountain. without wasting a thought on the wild beasts that crossed his path. He tried to frighten the animal out of his way by shouting at it. Yudhishthira was worried and told Bhima that the way would greatly distress Draupadi but that he himself would go on accompanied by Nakula and the sage Lomasa. Bring some flowers of this kind.

to seek and find Sita. unable to bear the dazzling light radiating from that figure. he bent down his head. Bhima was thrilled at actually seeing that divine form of this elder brother." And Hanuman contracted his body. the mere description of which had till then filled him with wonder." Bhima said: "Nothing could be easier but the scriptures forbid it. Otherwise I should jump over you and the mountain in one bound. jump over me." The monkey answered: "O mighty hero. to his amazement he could not move it in the least. the son of the Wind god." Bhima said: "I do not want your advice and it is no concern of yours if I go to destruction. a little bit up or down or sideways. I wish to see the form in which you crossed the ocean. If you have to go at any cost. who crossed the ocean. If you go on this path. Well. No man can go beyond this and live. whom you mentioned a little while ago." Proud of his immense strength. as you say. be patient. and spoke like a pupil addressing his master. that is enough talk. now get up and make way and do not provoke me to do you some harm. resuming his former size. god or Gandharva." and he prostrated before Hanuman. Since you have scruples in jumping over me. my body can grow still more. though he exerted all his strength. I have no strength to rise up as I am decrepit with age. who is that Hanuman who crossed the ocean? If you know his story. could not move that tail the least. you will meet with danger and that is why I stop you. But here is the stream with its depths where you can find the Saugandhika plant you came to seek. Bhima thought to pull the monkey out of the way by its tail. Now move away from the path or stop me at your peril. Hanuman said: "Bhima. know that I am your brother. But. was all respect when he saw one stronger than himself." Bhima roared and said: "Have you not heard of Hanuman. in the presence of my enemies. In shame. being but a very old monkey." The monkey remarked as though in surprise: "O best of men. like Hanuman crossing the ocean. . even that Hanuman. you monkey. and then asked in a chastened mood: "Who are you? Forgive me and reveal to me whether you are a Siddha. the wife of Rama? I am equal to him in strength and heroism. my elder brother. enlighten me. Be gentle as you are strong. He covered his eyes." Bhima like most strong men. which is the road to the spirit-world where the Yakshas and the Rakshasas abide. Get up and move out of the way or I will make you. kindly move aside my tail and make a path for yourself. still. but you will come to destruction if you try to force a way. He set his jaws and strained every muscle till the very sinews cracked and he was covered with perspiration. a monkey. But. Hanuman smiled and began to increase the size of his body and stood forth firmly to the world like a mountain seeming to fill the landscape. He tenderly embraced Bhimasena.yourself." Bhima was transported with delight: "I count myself the most fortunate of men in that I have been blessed to meet my brother. and have mercy on the old and weak. a descendant of the Kuru race and a son of Kunti. a hundred yojanas in breadth. Hanuman replied: "O mighty-armed Pandava. that indulges in such tall talk? I am a kshatriya hero." The monkey replied: "I have no strength to stand up. Know that I am the son of the Wind god." Hearing these words the monkey merely smiled and said: "I am.

I AM NO CRANE ONCE the sage Markandeya came to see the Pandavas. After her husband had been cared for and fed.Bhagavan Vyasa says that Bhima felt completely refreshed and became much stronger than before by the embrace of Hanuman. wash and dry his feet and serve him with food. 38. he sat under a tree reciting the Vedas. I shall be present on the flag of the chariot of your brother Arjuna. if each hasty or angry wish took effect at once! How much there would be to regret or repent afterwards! It is lucky for us that wishes depend onoutward circumstances for accomplishment. with great steadfastness and devotion. The brahmana was pained when he saw the dead bird lying on the ground. Ask any boon that you like. How strange!" Hearing this Markandeya told him a sacred story. and his angry look killed the bird and it fell down dead. tired and hungry. She said: "I am sorry to have kept you waiting long. Think of me whenever you are in need. This indifference is not fair. and the wife had to attend to his wants." Hanuman pointed out to Bhima the stream nearby. He looked up at it. Large hearted and forgiving. In this preoccupation she seemed to have forgotten the mendicant waiting outside. Yudhishthira happened to talk of the virtues of the fair sex and said: "What greater wonder is there in this world than the patience and the chastity of woman? She gives birth to a child after cherishing it in her womb as dearer than life itself. defiled his head with its droppings. How frightful it would be if wishes fulfilled themselves. where grew the Saugandhika flowers he had come to seek." Kausika. She brings it into the world inpain and anxiety and thence forward her one thought is for its health and happiness. One day. he went as usual to beg alms. Pardon me. named Kausika who observed his vow of brahmacharya." Bhima said: "Blessed are the Pandavas for I have had the good fortune to see you. said: "Lady." . You will be victorious. This put Bhima at once in mind of Draupadi who was waiting for his return. burning with anger. Some time later. Kausika sorrowed that the evil thought that passed in his mind in a moment of anger had killed an innocent bird. In the meantime the master of the house returned. my voice shall join yours and strike terror into the hearts of your enemies. you have made me wait for such a long time. perched on the top of the tree. He stood before the door of a house to receive his dole. Kausika waited in the hope that she would attend to him after her work was over." Hanuman gave this parting blessing to his brother: "While you roar like a lion in the battlefield. since that saves us from much sin and sorrow. The housewife was cleansing utensils at that time. she came out with alms to the mendicant. There was once a brahmana. I felt the same delight when I embraced you that I had in times of yore when I was fortunate enough to touch the divine body of Sri Rama. a woman forgives and continues to love even a wicked husband who neglects and hates and subjects her to all sorts of miseries. Hanuman said: "O hero. and he collected the flowers and returned to her without delay. go to your abode. A crane. Inspired with your strength we are sure to conquer our enemies.

a duty. Vedavyasa emphasizes this great truth by making a scholarly brahmana. And one such." The brahmana was taken aback. But what really matters is the spirit of sincerity and faithfulness with which be does his life's work. Kausika reached Mithila and looked for Dharmavyadha's residence. The moral of this striking story of Dharmavyadha so skillfully woven by Vedavyasa into the Mahabharata. Forgive the delay in attending to you. He wondered how the woman knew of the crane incident. you do not know the secret of duty. and that this is really worship of God who created and pervades all. in which was a man selling meat." The brahmana was amazed. Dhritarashtra was probably sorry to hear this. Go to Mithila and be instructed in the secret of good life by Dharmavyadha living in that city. 39. Could . learn it from a butcher. who lived it in his humble and despised life. THE WICKED ARE NEVER SATISFIED MANY brahmanas visited the Pandavas during their exile. I am no crane to be killed by a violent thought and your rage can do no harm to the woman who devotes herself to the service of her husband. were. "Revered sir." The brahmana remarked: "It is right and proper to attend on the husband. man's calling and duty. But what troubled him most were the consequences to his own sons. is the same as the teaching of the Gita. came to the brahmana and inquired: "Revered sir. He said: "I deserve your just admonition and it will do me good. Man reaches perfection by the honest pursuit of whatever calling falls to his lot in life. went to see Dhritarashtra. Kausika took his lessons from that butcher on dharma. (Bhagavad Gita. kindly do forgive me. but the brahmana also should not be disregarded. by unkind destiny. 45-46) The occupation may be one he is born to in society or it may have been forced on him by circumstances or be may have taken it up by choice. I was serving my husband and hence the delay. I know why you have come. born princes. which he had rather neglected before. which he thought would be some lonely hermitage far from the noise and bustle of common life. You seem an arrogant woman.The woman told the brahmana: "Best of brahmanas. The butcher suddenly rose from his seat. who received him with due honor." said the butcher and h e took the brahmana to his house where he saw a happy family and was greatly struck by the devotion with which the butcher served his parents. and you are also not aware that anger is the greatest enemy that dwells in man. Afterwards." With these words he went to Mithila. The brahmana told him how the Pandavas. at the mercy of the wind and the sun and suffered great privations. the brahmana returned to his house and began to tend his parents. are you well? Did that chaste brahmana lady send you to me?" The brahmana was stupefied. His amazement was great when he learnt that this man was Dharmavyadha. XVIII. who did not know it. She continued: "O great one. Let us go home. returning to Hastinapura." She said: "Be not angry with me and remember that I kept you waiting only because I was dutifully serving my husband. The brahmana was shocked beyond measure and stood at a distance in disgust. May all good attend you. He walked along magnificent roads between beautiful houses and gardens in that great city and finally reached a butcher's shop.

Sakuni. Sakuni. Karna went to Duryodhana with a cheerful face and announced that he had found a way out of the difficulty. Also. We need no longer burn with jealousy. This life of idle ease is torment to me without that great joy. Karna and Duryodhana were giddily happy and found much pleasure in exulting congratulation of one another on their prosperity. On the contrary we shall be very careful and avoid them." The blind king pursued his thought: "Alas." Duryodhana replied: "O Karna. but would it not be a joy of joys to see with my own eyes the sufferings of the Pandavas and bring their sorrow to a climax by a display of our happiness? The only way to perfect our happiness is to go to the forest and see the distress of the Pandavas." Duryodhana said: "We shall not go near them. Though Dhritarashtra was thus worried.Yudhishthira continue to hold the justly wrathful Bhima in check? Dhritarashtra feared that the anger of the Pandavas. He said: "What do you think of going to our ranches at Dwaitavana for the annual stock-taking of the cows? The king certainly cannot object to that. it is not right to intrude on the sorrows of the Pandavas in their forest life. all we have done so far is labor lost. I cannot agree to send you to a place near the abode of Bhima and Arjuna while there is still occasion for anger and strife. Bhima and Arjuna in the forest. which may lead to trouble. why did we become a prey to covetousness? It is not as though poverty drove us to it! Why did we take to the path of injustice? Instead of enjoying our boundless wealth in contentment we succumbed to lust of power and possession and coveted what was not ours. Karna and Sakuni said to Duryodhana: "The kingdom which was in the hands of Yudhishthira has become ours. Karna. long pent up. He said again: "The king fears the Pandavas. But I learn that the Pandavas are dwelling in that forest. What could tempt one back to earth from heaven but the craving for vengeance? And we have earned it!" These thoughts would haunt and give him no peace. but my father will refuse permission. He forbids us to go to the forest and meet them." The king answered: "However careful you may be. . Anyone of your soldiers might trespass and give offence. It is also desirable to take stock of the cows. Duryodhana and the short-sighted Duhsasana are perched precariously up a tree in search of a honeycomb while below is the abyss of Bhima's anger yawning to receive them to their destruction. might one day break its bounds and overflow in a devastating flood." Early next morning. He said: "Hunting is indeed beneficial to the princes. Wrong cannot but yield its bitter harvest! Arjuna has returned from heaven with divine weapons. there is danger in mere nearness. lest danger should befall us. But the king would not assent. But I tell you." Sakuni and Duryodhana applauded this bright idea and sent the leader of the cowherds to the king to secure his permission. without a sight of the sufferings of Draupadi. It is not advisable for you to go there. as he thinks that they are endowed with the power of austerities. Sakuni and yourself must seek a way of obtaining the king's consent for us to go to the forest and see the Pandavas in their misery. all that is true." and Duryodhana shed tears at his father's cruelty in denying him this pleasure. The king anxiously pondered thus: "Arjuna and Bhima will certainly try to punish us.

They returned to Duryodhana and represented that some petty prince who was there with his followers was giving them trouble. When Duryodhana came to know of this. I feel like thanking our Gandharva friend!" But Yudhishthira reproved him: "Dear brother. Duryodhana. After counting the cows." . the king of the Gandharvas. Yudhishthira knows and follows the path of dharma. said: "Well. Hate is a cruel fire. please yourselves." Sakuni said: "O king. Chitrasena. The attendants returned to the lake and tried to carry out their orders but found the Gandharvas too many for them and had to retreat in precipitation. on which it lives and grows. We must rescue them. Bhima heard the news of Duryodhana's defeat and capture with delight and amusement. At first the fight went in favor of the Kauravas. Duryodhana and Karna went with unconcealed joy at the very thought of being able to gloat on the sad plight of the Pandavas.Someone else can go in your stead to count the cattle. who placed him in his chariot bound hand and foot. While hunting. We cannot hold back and take this lying down. Duryodhana and his party reached an attractive pond near the hermitage of the Pandavas and ordered a camp to be put on its bank. the sylvan sports and other entertainment’s arranged for them. He said to Yudhishthira: "These Gandharvas have done our job for us. They inspected the herds of cows and took stock of them. They themselves camped in luxurious rest houses in a place four miles off the abode of the Pandavas. But the tables were quickly turned when Chitrasena. he grew very a ngry and with a large army marched to destroy the audacious enemies who had dared to resist his pleasure. who must have come here to mock at us. He has given his promise in the open assembly and the Pandavas will follow his bidding. the hunt. this is not the time for you to rejoice. Do not oppose Duryodhana who is fond of hunting. Duryodhana alone remained in the battlefield but he was soon seized by Chitrasena. has got what he deserved. DURYODHANA DISGRACED THE Kauravas reached Dwaitavana with a great army and many followers. they enjoyed the dance. Let him return after taking stock of the cows. the king of the Gandharvas. A great fight ensued between the Gandharvas and Duryodhana's army. 40." A heart full of hate can know no contentment. over-persuaded as usual. The Gandharvas took many of the prominent Kauravas captive. bulls and calves. The sons of Kunti will not show any enmity towards us. which extorts the fuel. and his attendants had already encamped in the neighborhood of the pool and they prevented Duryodhana's men from putting up their camp. Karna and the other Kaurava heroes lost their chariots and weapons and had to retreat in haste and ignominy. I shall also accompany him and see to it that none of us go anywhere near the Pandavas." The king. Duryodhana was annoyed at this presumption and directed his men to turn the Gandharva prince out and put up the tents. is ours. and blew his conch in token of victory. at the hands of strangers. The Kauravas are our kith and kin and their humiliation. The Kaurava army fled in all directions and some of the fugitives took refuge in the hermitage of the Pandavas. rallied his troops and began using his magic weapons.

He shouted: "I shall conquer the Pandavas.Bhima did not think this very reasonable. I will kill Arjuna in battle. praised him and the sacrifice he had celebrated and likened it to those . the citizens began to talk among themselves that Duryodhana's sacrifice had not come up to even a sixteenth part of Yudhishthira's Rajasuya in magnificence. on the other hand. overruled Bhima's objection and bade his brothers go to the rescue of the Kauravas. greatly moved. Look at the Pandavas. What is the use of just collapsing under sorrow? It will but make your enemies happy." When Duryodhana heard this speech. Karna said: "I swear to you by all that is holy t at." And he added: "What sense is there in dying? You can do something worthwhile only if you are alive. But when the ceremony was over. Obedient to his behest. driven off the battlefield. Why do you say that you would give up your life when the kingdom seized from the Pandavas is yours to enjoy? Fasting serves no purpose. Duryodhana celebrated a great sacrifice with much pomp and splendor. with Karna. when h the stipulated period of thirteen years is over. The dishonored Kauravas returned in haste to Hastinapura. joined them on the way. but the brahmanas told him that he could not do that while Yudhishthira and Dhritarashtra were alive and advised him to perform the sacrifice known as the Vaishnava instead. The friends of Duryodhana. bound me hand and foot and wanted to drown me in the river? What brotherly feeling can we really have towards these vile wretches who hauled Draupadi by the hair to theassembly and disgraced her?" At that moment a cry of agony from Duryodhana reached them faintly from the distance and Yudhishthira. released Duryodhana and the other prisoners saying that all he wanted was to teach a lesson to these arrogant Kauravas. He said: "Why should we save this sinner who tried to burn us alive in the wax house? Why should you feel sorry for the fellow who poisoned my food. Karna could not bear the sight of the brother's sorrow. felt it would have been far better if be had been killed by Chitrasena and announced his wish to fast unto death. 41. his evil nature regained ascendancy." While returning home. for if you really repent of what you have done till now." And then he touched his sword in token of the oath. He accepted this advice and celebrated the Vaishnava with great splendor. Duryodhana." Duhsasana protested his unworthiness to be king and caught hold of his brother's feet and wept. He said to Duhsasana: "Be crowned and rule the kingdom. who. But Chitrasena had no wish to fight with the Pandavas and at their approach. you should make friends with the Pandavas and give them back their kingdom. They have not taken to fasts in spite of the disgrace they have suffered. He wanted to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. in great shame and dejection. for giving back the kingdom to the Pandavas was to him a hundred times worse than defeat or disgrace. Bhima and Arjuna rallied the routed Kaurava forces and offered battle to the Gandharvas. I can no longer continue to live after having become a laughing stock to my enemies. SRI KRISHNA'S HUNGER WHILE the Pandavas were dwelling in the forest. having been." Sakuni interposed and said: "Listen to Karna's words. Karna said: "This does not befit heroes of the Kuru race." Karna said: "That is the way for a king to talk.

who themselves lived from hand to mouth in the forest. As a result of the austerities of Yudhishthira at the beginning of their stay in the forest. just before the hour of awakening. saluted and honored him. the brahmanas and other guests would be served first. nor will I refuse the prayer of anyone who asks me for anything. Bharata and others." Accordingly." he said. the god had said. she prayed earnestly to Sri Krishna to come to her aid in this hopeless predicament and deliver her from the wrath of the sage. Many of our dreams come either in the beginning or at the end of our sleep. O Krishna? The power of the vessel given by the Sun is exhausted for the day.performed by Yayati. for he had a great opinion of Karna's prowess." Such was the solemn vow taken by Karna in the assembly. And the sage Durvasa has come. Mandhata. Durvasa went with his disciples to the Pandavas as was desired by Duryodhana. a wonderful vessel that held a never-failing supply of food." Here was a pretty pass. They felt as if the Pandavas had been slain already." and hurried off with his disciples to the river. One morning. Our meals must be ready then. Spies conveyed to the Pandavas in the forest the news of the oath taken by Karna. "bring without delay something to eat and we shall speak of other things afterwards. Finally. including Draupadi. Then the sage said: "We shall be back soon. for we are hungry. "I am very hungry. The brothers welcomed the sage. Afterwards the Pandava brothers would take their meals. Draupadi would have her share. the Sun god had given him the Akshayapatra. would be unable to feed or entertain the sage and his following. had eaten their meals and so the vessel was empty and denuded of its power for the day. Karna had been born with divine armor and was undoubtedly a mighty hero." said he. but to move on to some other forest. He dreamt that the wild beasts of the forest came and appealed to him piteously not to destroy them altogether. "I shall not take meat or wine. and would incur some dreadful curse from that too hasty visitor for their want of hospitality. It looked as though the ally from whom she hoped for relief had gone over to the foe! She cried out in great confusion: "Alas! Why do you try me thus. Yudhishthira had a dream. "Till I have slain Arjuna. When Durvasa reached the place. In making the gift. The sons of Dhritarashtra were delighted to hear this vow of the great hero Karna and shouted in joy. At once Sri Krishna appeared before her. This would give him greater joy than any benefit he could have asked for himself when the sage offered a boon. Court flatterers were not sparing with their praise. In the kitchen. all of them. Karna told Duryodhana that his Rajasuya had been only postponed till the Pandavas should be defeated and slain in battle and repeated that his part would be the slaying of Arjuna. Duryodhana felt sure that the Pandavas. Draupadi was greatly troubled and perfectly at a loss to find food when the sage and his disciples should return after their ablutions. "Through this I shall place at your disposal for twelve years as much food as is required for your daily consumption. Not till everyone has been served and Draupadi herself has taken her share will the vessel become empty for the day. What shall I do? The sage and his disciples will soon be here and as though . as the latter were resting after their midday meal. Yudhishthira was greatly concerned.

The explanation is that as the whole universe is contained in Sri Krishna. but we feel well-fed and full and cannot eat anything more. The Pandavas pursued the animal but it was a magic deer. In those days matches were unknown and fire was kindled with pieces of wood by mechanical friction. THE ENCHANTED POOL THE stipulated period of twelve years was drawing to a close. Bhima said: "Quite so. a deer was rubbing itself against a poor brahmana's fire-kindling mortar and as it turned to go. hastened to the river where Durvasa and his followers were bathing." Durvasa knew what it was and he told Bhima: "We have taken our meals. his satisfaction with a single grain of rice satisfied for the time the hunger of all beings including the sage. not excuses. "Alas! The deer is running away with my fire-kindler. They were in great surprise to find that their ravenous hunger had given place to a pleased satiety." Yudhishthira sent him to fetch some to drink. So we have deservedly fallen into this pitiable state. Fetch the vessel and let me see for myself. told him to go to the river and intimate to the revered sage that food was ready and waiting for them. Worn out by the futile chase." Then the party went away. They had all the comfortable cheerfulness of people who had feasted well. The disciples told the sage: "We have come here after asking Yudhishthira to prepare food for us. He was tormented with thirst and so he said to Nakula: "Brother. Tell Yudhishthira to forgive us. the mortar got entangled in its horns and the affrighted animal fled wildly with it into the forest. looked around and said: "At a little distance I see water plants and cranes. "I bore in silence the vulgar and insulting brag of that son of the charioteer. Is it not because we did not do so that we have had to suffer all these sorrows?" and he looked at Arjuna sadly. When Draupadi was dragged into the assembly. A bit had been left which had been partaken by Vasudeva! Sri Krishna seemed replete with satisfaction after eating his solitary grain and calling Bhima. decoying the Pandavas far into the forest and then disappeared. How can I perform the fire sacrifice?" shouted the brahmana and rushed towards the Pandavas for help in his extremity. Bhimasena." Yudhishthira noticed with sorrow that all of them had lost their cheerfulness and courage. climb that tree and see whether there is any pool or river nearby. There must certainly be water there. greatly puzzled. you have also come at this juncture saying that you are hungry." Draupadi brought it to him." Sri Krishna said: "I am terribly hungry and want food. Nakula sighed: "We cannot render even this trifling service to the brahmana. accepting them as Sri Hari. the Pandavas sat in great dejection under a banyan tree." Nakula climbed the tree. He thought they would be more cheerful with something to do. we should have killed those wretches.this were not enough. but full of faith in Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna ate them with satisfaction. doing nothing. Draupadi was filled with shame at her slovenliness in not having cleaned the vessel free of all remnants. How we have degenerated!" said he sadly. the Soul of the Universe. Arjuna agreed. One day. . A tiny bit of cooked vegetable and a grain of rice were sticking to the rim of the vessel. 42. which sped in great leaps and bounds.

The voice was heard again: "O Sahadeva." Like Nakula. Alone. But O! I am so thirsty. hurried away without a word. for our stars are bad. Arjuna made up his mind to seek out and grapple with this elusive foe. overcome by irresistible drowsiness. He drank the water and at once dropped down. Yudhishthira wailed full of anxiety and thirst. O son of Madri. glaring around in defiance. The invisible being laughed in scorn: "Your arrows do but wound the air. the great hero. thirst was the enemy he must kill first. I shall first drink water the better to fight them. The voice shouted: "Bhimasena." Greatly vexed. racked with anxiety. he drank the water. But before looking into the matter further. He cried: "Who are you? Come and stand up to me. answer my questions and then drink the water. Yudhishthira sent Arjuna to see whether the brothers had met with any danger." he added. He was shocked at the sight and felt that they must have been killed by some lurking foe. Please seek them out and be quick about it." Arjuna's anger knew no bounds. for he was very thirsty. And as he did so. "And bring water. Surprised that Nakula had not returned. At once. rushed irresistibly to the water to quench his burning thirst." "Who are you to dictate to me?" cried Bhima. for I die of thirst. which irresistibly impelled him to the fatal pool. Yes. If you drink the water without doing so. He saw both his brothers lying dead near the pool. And he also fell dead among his brothers. This pool belongs to me. and I will kill you." And then he descended into the pool. When Sahadeva reached the pool and saw his brother lying on the ground.Nakula was glad when he got to the place and saw there was a pool. beware. His grief and rage can be imagined when he saw his three brothers lying there dead. which said: "Do not be rash. Sahadeva also did not heed the warning. You may drink only after answering my questions. So he drank the water and also fell down dead." Nakula was surprised. Arjuna. has also not yet returned. Arjuna went swiftly. his great strength seemed to slip from him like a garment. this is my pool. a voice was heard: "Answer my question before you drink the water. Answer my questions and then only may you quench your thirst. but carried away by his intense thirst and heedless of the warning. Answer my questions and then you can satisfy your thirst. to all appearance dead. You will die if you disregard my words. He thought: "This is certainly the work of the Yakshas." and he shot keenedged arrows in the direction of the voice. Puzzled and worried that Sahadeva also did not return. I will hunt them down and kill them. But no sooner did he dip his hand in the transparent water than he heard a voice. you will follow your brothers. Yudhishthira sent Sahadeva to see what the matter was. Also bring water. Though heart-broken with grief and burning with the desire for revenge. he felt all feelings submerged in a monstrous thirst. he wondered whether any harm had come to him. But first he had to quench his terrible thirst. "Have they been subjected to a curse or are they wandering about in the . he fell down. Again. and he drank the water avidly. If you disobey me. This pool is mine. you will die." Bhima. Something terrible must have happened to our brothers. After anxious waiting Yudhishthira turned to Bhima: "Dear brother. He was very thirsty himself and so thought of quenching his thirst first before taking water in his quiver for his brother.

He stroked the faces of Bhima and Arjuna as they lay so still and silent there and mourned: "Was this to be the end of all our vows? Just when our exile is about to end. Even the gods have forsaken me in my misfortune!" As he looked at their mighty limbs." The Yaksha asked: "What is higher than the sky?" Yudhishthira replied: "The father. At once the voice without form warned as before: "Your brothers died because they did not heed my words." The Yaksha asked: "By the study of which science does man become wise?" Yudhishthira replied: "Not by studying any sastra does man become wise." . nectar to his eyes. Besides. Answer my questions first and then quench your thirst." The Yaksha asked: "What rescues man in danger?" Yudhishthira replied: "Courage is man's salvation in danger. he reflected: "Surely my heart must be made of steel not to break even after seeing Nakula and Sahadeva dead. He said to the bodiless voice: "Please ask your questions. you have been snatched away. unable to restrain his grief." The Yaksha asked: "What is fleeter than wind?" Yudhishthira replied: "Mind. For what purpose should I continue to live in this world?" Then a sense of mystery overcame him." The Yaksha asked: "What is more nobly sustaining than the earth?" Yudhishthira replied: "The mother who brings up the children she has borne is nobler and more sustaining than the earth. now so helpless. The Yaksha asked: "What makes sun shine every day?" Yudhishthira replied: "The power of Brahman. It is by association with the great in wisdom that he gets wisdom. But when he saw his brothers lying there like sacred flagpoles thrown pell-mell after a festival. he started out to look for his brothers and the pool. Or. there were no wounds on their bodies which could have let out life and their faces were faces of men who slept in peace and not of those who died in wrath. There was also no trace of the footprints of an enemy. Do not follow them. he lifted his voice and wept. girdling a pool of pellucid water. Brokenly.forest in a vain search for water or have they fainted or died of thirst?" Unable to bear these thoughts and driven desperate by an overpowering thirst. There was surely some magic about it." Yudhishthira knew that these could be none other than the words of a Yaksha and guessed what had happened to his brothers. for this could be no ordinary occurrence. Presently he came upon a beautiful green meadow." The voice put questions rapidly one after another. Yudhishthira proceeded in the direction his brothers had taken through tracts infested with wild boar and abounding in spotted dear and huge forest birds. The world held no warriors who could overcome his brothers. he sadly wondered who could have been powerful enough to kill them." The Yaksha asked: "What is more blighted than withered straw?" Yudhishthira replied: "A sorrow-stricken heart. could it be a trick played by Duryodhana? Might he not have poisoned the water? Then Yudhishthira also descended into the pool. in his turn drawn to the water by a consuming thirst. He saw a possible way of redeeming the situation. This pool is mine.

This verily is the greatest wonder. Even though he may be learned in the four Vedas." The Yaksha asked: "What is that. one of your dead brothers can now be revived." Yudhishthira replied: "O Yaksha. In the end the Yaksha asked: "O king." and saying this he disappeared. In order that the scales of justice may be even. abandoning which man becomes loved by all?" Yudhishthira replied: "Pride. broad-chested and long-armed Nakula. good conduct or learning? Answer decisively. by giving up which." Thus. lying like a fallen ebony tree. for abandoning that man will be loved by all. The thirteenth year will also pass by." The Yaksha asked: "Who is the friend of one who stays at home?" Yudhishthira replied: "The wife." Yudhishthira replied: "Birth and learning do not make one a brahmana. And why not Arjuna. He embraced Yudhishthira and blessed him. Yama said: "Only a few days remain to complete the stipulated period of your exile in the forest. I ask that Madri's son Nakula may revive." The Yaksha asked: "What is that. whose prowess in arms is your protection? Tell me why you chose Nakula rather than either of these two. man becomes rich?" Yudhishthira replied: "Desire. giving it up. That alone accompanies the soul in its solitary journey after death. You will successfully fulfil your undertaking. and so." The Yaksha asked: "What is the loss which yields joy and not sorrow?" Yudhishthira replied: "Anger." The Yaksha asked: "What is the greatest wonder in the world?" Yudhishthira replied: "Every day. dharma is the only shield of man and not Bhima or Arjuna. I am surviving. man will be ruined. Good conduct alone does. If dharma is set at naught. None of your enemies will be able to discover you. a son of Kunti.The Yaksha asked: "What befriends a traveller?" Yudhishthira replied: "Learning. arise. Kunti and Madri were the two wives of my father." The Yaksha asked: "What makes one a real brahmana? Is it birth. who had taken the form of the deer and the Yaksha so that he might see his son Yudhishthira and test him. the Yaksha posed many questions and Yudhishthira answered them all. she is not completely bereaved. a man of bad conduct falls to a lower class." The Yaksha asked: "Who accompanies a man in death?" Yudhishthira replied: "Dharma." The Yaksha asked: "Which is the biggest vessel?" Yudhishthira replied: "The earth. those who remain seek to live forever. which contains all within itself is the greatest vessel. However learned a person may be he will not be a brahmana if he is a slave to bad habits. men see creatures depart to Yama's abode and yet." The Yaksha was pleased with Yudhishthira's impartiality and granted that all his brothers would come back to life." Yudhishthira thought for a moment and then replied: "May the cloudcomplexioned. lotus-eyed. Whom do you want revived? He shall come back to life. getting rid of it." The Yaksha asked: "What is happiness?" Yudhishthira replied: "Happiness is the result of good conduct. It was Yama. the Lord of Death. man becomes wealthy. we will no longer subject to sorrow. ." The Yaksha was pleased at this and asked Yudhishthira: "Why did you choose Nakula in preference to Bhima who has the strength of sixteen thousand elephants? I have heard that Bhima is most dear to you.

Indra. Dhaumya consoled him. Yudhishthira shone with tenfold lustre. descend as the son of Dasaratha and spend long years. will never go after evil. when pested by the demons. suffering many sorrows for the sake of killing Ravana? The greatest souls in the past have sanctified disguise for a good purpose. May the same good attend the readers of this story as retold by us. They will never be unduly attached to transitory things. conquer your enemies and win prosperity. The thirteenth year of exile has come. enter into the weapon of Indra to defeat Vritra. the Lord of Death. the all-pervading God. But you are too wise and learned to be shaken or daunted. become a child in the womb of Aditi. Still we have passed these years cheerfully with joy in the forest. suffer human birth. You must also do likewise. DOMESTIC SERVICE "O BRAHMANAS. You will. 43. We can easily pass the twelve months together without being discovered. cheated out of our kingdom and reduced to poverty. the Lord of gods. Did not Mahavishnu. has blessed us. the asura king? Did not the Fire god hide himself in the waters for the sake of the gods? Does not the moon keep out of sight every day? Did not Lord Vishnu. either through fear or hope of reward. likewise. He said: "Parting. God knows when the day will dawn which will see us together again. the Lord of Dharma. They will never seek to create quarrels among friends or covet the wealth of others." Yudhishthira took leave of the brahmanas and gave the members of his retinue leave to go home. and the dangers are many and great. Having met. There are many charming states for us to choose ." So spoke Yudhishthira to the brahmanas who were living with the Pandavas till then. and take away from Emperor Bali his kingdom for the salvation of the world? Did not Lord Narayana. his father Yama. no doubt. without fear or concealment. For we have to spend the next twelve months undiscovered by the spies of Duryodhana. and with it the time for us to part from you.The Pandavas had." Thus said Vaisampayana to Janamejaya as he related this story of the Yaksha. Yudhishthira sadly asked Arjuna: "You are well conversant with the ways of the world. They will never fall victims to lust. you know Yama. You must disguise yourselves. but the gains too were not inconsiderable. is hard. And may we escape the notice of those who may wish to betray us to the sons of Dhritarashtra. Arjuna returned from tapas with divine weapons and strengthened by contact with Indra. Where would it be best for us to spend the thirteenth year?" Arjuna replied: "O great king. The Pandavas retired to a secluded spot in the forest and discussed their future line of action. we have been deceived by the sons of Dhritarashtra. the refuge of men. "The minds of those who listen to the sacred story of Yudhishthira's meeting with his father. Bhima also met his elder brother Hanuman near the lake where the Saugandhika flowers bloomed and got tenfold strength from his embrace. His voice shook with emotion as he spoke these words. Safely concealed thus. Now. bless us before we go. disguised himself as a brahmana and lived unknown in the country of Nishadha. to pass through all sorts of troubles during their exile. at the enchanted pool. It was a period of hard discipline and searching probation through which they emerged stronger and nobler men. the Lord of the Universe. he managed to destroy his enemies.

the king of Matsya. is very strong and he loves us much. I think of taking service as a cook in the court of Virata. I shall chop the trees of the forest and bring heaps of fuel." Yudhishthira answered: "Virata. I shall also delight the king by contending with and defeating the wrestlers who come to his court. When I rejected Urvasi's amorous overtures on the ground that she was like a mother unto me. Well." Afterwards Yudhishthira addressed Arjuna: "What profession do you propose to take up? How can you hide your towering valor?" When he asked this question Yudhishthira could not restrain him from narrating the brilliant exploits of Arjuna. and clothing myself in female attire. He is of mature judgment and is devoted to the practice of virtue. having to disguise himself and take service.from for our sojourn. ethics. O Bhima." Arjuna said: "Well then. Vedangas. I shall hide under a jacket the scars on my arms made by the constant chafing of the bowstring. what work would you seek in the court of Virata?" When he asked this question. buffaloes and other wild animals and thus entertain king Virata. Bahlika. and the time would be mine to choose. I may give a bad jolt to any wrestler who deserves it but I shall not kill anyone. politics and other sciences. Wearing bangles made of white conchs. But through Indra's grace the curse would hold good only for a year. But if I may venture an opinion. He will not be won over or frightened by Duryodhana. What disguise can hide your mighty personality and enable you to live unknown in the country of Mastya?" Yudhishthira was in tears as he put this question to Bhima. O king. who conquered and slew Baka and Hidimba. prosperous and charming as it is. I shall hide myself in the guise of a eunuch and serve the ladies of the court." This made Yudhishthira anxious for he feared that danger might befall them if Bhima engaged himself in wrestling bouts. but be not anxious about me. I agree that it would be best to live incognito in Virata's kingdom. I shall engage myself in menial work in the inner apartments of Virata's . Surasena. I shall please Virata by preparing such dainty food as he has never tasted. I shall have to be careful of course. Bhima laughingly replied: "O king. I shall serve out that year of loss of manhood now. Kalinga. Yudhishthira answered: "I am thinking of asking Virata to take me in his service as a courtier. Arjuna was full of sorrow at the thought of Yudhishthira. she cursed me with loss of manhood. You know that I have a great appetite and that I am also an expert in cooking. who deserves praise if not Arjuna? Arjuna replied: "Revered brother. I shall tell him that I was an intimate friend of Yudhishthira and learnt these things while I was privileged to be with him. take up under Virata? You saved us by killing Jatasura. Matsya. It is. of course. He spoke of his brother's glory in twenty verses. the great and guileless king. states like Panchala. the Matsya country of king Virata is the best. I shall restrain mad bulls. At once Bhima spoke thus to calm his fears: "I shall not kill anyone. who had performed the Rajasuya sacrifice. and Magadha. braiding my hair like a woman. Dasharna. what works will you. Salva. Videha. I shall take the garb of a sanyasin and shall keep him agreeably engaged by my skill in reading omens and knowledge ofastrology as well as of the Vedas. Valor and strength are over-flowing from you. I could delight him with my conversation and my dexterity at dice. for you to choose.

nor may he receive anything in the . I shall preserve my freedom and chastity. the daughter of a king. nor yet appear to avoid him. the teacher of the asuras. My mind delights in training and looking after horses. They should praise the king on befitting occasions.queen. I shall be a sairandhri in the court of the queen of Virata." but Yudhishthira could not find words to ask her what she proposed to do." When the Pandavas thus decided. I can not only ride and break horses but also harness and drive them in a chariot." Yudhishthira asked Sahadeva: "You. the mother of Nakula. as he thought of Madri. and the knowledge of Sukra. I shall say that I had looked after the horses of the Pandavas and I have no doubt Virata will take me in his service. They may give their counsel only when asked. no matter how small. Draupadi saw his grief and spoke these brave words: "O best of kings. She was a princess. Arjuna turned to Draupadi and smiled. A servant of the king should ever be active and selfrestrained. Even though a person may be trusted by the king and have great authority. do not grieve or suffer anxiety on my account. must go and seek employment of Virata as a eunuch in the queen's inner apartments?" he said brokenly. I shall guard Virata's cattle from the ravages of disease and the attacks of wild beasts. nobly born. for the attendant and companion of a princess has this right and can exercise it." "O Draupadi. "Alas! Have the fates decreed that he. Nakula replied: "I shall work in King Virata's stables. And I shall seek service saying that I used to serve Draupadi in Yudhishthira's court. nor unduly depressed. I shall represent that I had thus served princess Draupadi in Yudhishthira's court and seek employment from the queen. All things. the companion and attendant of the princess. Thus shall I remain unknown to others. worthy of all reverence and protection. tenderly nurtured. One may not sit in the conveyance. Do not go too near him. Yudhishthira then turned to Nakula and asked him what work he would engage in and. Yudhishthira was in tears. He should not be excessively elated. may be done only after informing the king. by being honored or dishonored by the king. tears rolled down his eyes. who stands high like the great golden Mount Meru. presuming on his affection. still be should always behave as if he would be dismissed immediately. a scion of Bharata's line." Saying this. you speak as befits one of your family. Yudhishthira felt choked by shame and despair. with the intelligence of Brihaspati. what work will you take up?" Sahadeva replied: "Let Nakula look after horses. For I know the heart of horses and have knowledge of their ailments and cure. I shall teach the women singing and dancing. and it seemed sacrilege to talk of service." Yudhishthira praised Draupadi's courage and said: "O auspicious one. I shall tend the cows. They must serve without talking too much. seat or chariot of the king. who is the equal of Sri Krishna himself in fame and valor. Dhaumya blessed them and advised them thus: "Those who are engaged in service under a king should always be vigilant. and never obtrude it. She was dearer to him than life itself. who is a veritable fire in human form. He may not reveal the secrets confided to him. I shall pass my days in such light tasks as braiding the hair and entertaining the women of the court with small talk. the priest and the preceptor of the gods. It would be foolishness to place too much confidence in a king.

and he shamelessly confided to her his unlawful passion for her maid and sought her aid to compass his wish. When they went to King Virata seeking service. to engage them in service but yielding to their urgent solicitations. engaging herself in uncongenial tasks. and by controlling wild animals. "that from the time I met your maid." he said. Kichaka. which greatly vexed her. The princess Draupadi who. and the ladies." Dhaumya then blessed the Pandavas: "Live thus in patience for one year. Arjuna assumed the name of Brihannala and taught dancing. "I am so full of torment. the brother of Sudeshna. the daughter of Virata. But Kichaka was not to be frightened so easily and he sought persistently to seduce Draupadi. I do not get any sleep or rest. should herself have been served by many maids. grace and nobility of appearance. and then. Kichaka. and implored her protection. One cannot be too careful with the ladies of the court. He made amorous overtures to her. Draupadi was too shy to speak of this to Sudeshna or to others. was the commander-in-chief of Virata's army and it was to him that the old king Virata owed his power and prestige. Bhima worked as the chief of the cooks. VIRTUE VINDICATED YUDHISHTHIRA put on the garb of a sanyasin. She gave out that her husbands were Gandharvas who would mysteriously kill those who tried to dishonor her. He was so smitten with Draupadi's beauty that he conceived an uncontrollable passion for her. had greater influence over his sister. Others also disguised themselves. She lived in the inner apartments of the palace as maid and companion. He should not be jealous of other servants. Nakula looked after the horses and Sahadeva looked after the cows and the bulls. Kichaka wielded such vast influence that people used to say that Kichaka was the real king of the Matsya country and old Virata king only in name. Kichaka was inordinately vain of his strength and his influence over the king. The king may place fools in positions of authority. He also entertained the king by wrestling with the reputed men of might whom came to the court." The queen tried to dissuade him but Kichaka would not listen. serving the king Virata. He represented himself as dying of desire.form of gift from the citizens. But no disguise could take away their natural charm. There should not be the faintest suggestion of indelicacy in one's conduct towards them. And he was so sure of his own attractions and power that it never occurred to him that she. And finally Sudeshna . His persecution became so intolerable that at last she complained of it to Queen Sudeshna. Yudhishthira became the king's companion and spent his days in playing dice with him. at first. if fate had been less cruel. You must save my life by managing somehow to make her receive my advances favorably. had now to pass her days in serving Sudeshna. leaving aside the wise. regaining your lost throne. he finally appointed them to the places they sought of him. you will pass the rest of your days in happiness." 44. they seemed to him born to command and rule rather than to serve. singing and instrumental music to Princess Uttara. He hesitated. Arjuna transformed himself into a eunuch. Such waywardness should be ignored. though a mere maidservant could resist his will. Her good conduct and lustre made every one believe in her story about the Gandharvas. of course. Virata's queen.

yielded. Both of them decided upon a plan to entrap Draupadi. One night, many sweetmeats and intoxicating drinks were prepared in the house of Kichaka and a great feast was arranged. Sudeshna called Sairandhri to her side and handing her a beautiful golden jug bade her go and bring her a jug of wine from Kichaka's house. Draupadi hesitated to go to the house of the infatuated Kichaka at that hour and begged hard that someone else of her many attendants might be sent, but Sudeshna did not listen. She pretended to be angry and said sharply: "Go, you must. I can not send anyone else," and poor Draupadi had to obey. Draupadi's fears were justified. When she reached Kichaka's house, that wretch, maddened with lust and wine, began to pester her with urgent entreaties and solicitations. She rejected his prayers and said: "Why do you, who belong to a noble royal family, seek me, born of a low caste? Why do you take to the wrong path? Why do you approach me, a married lady? You will perish. My protectors, the Gandharvas, will kill you in their anger." When Draupadi would not yield to his entreaties, Kichaka seized her by the arm and pulled her about. But putting down the vessel she carried, she wrenched herself free and fled, hotly pursued by the maddened Kichaka. She fled to the court wailing loudly. But even there, intoxicated not only with wine, but even more by his power and influence, Kichaka followed her and kicked her in the presence of all with abusive words. Everyone was afraid of the all-powerful commander-in-chief and no one was bold enough to oppose him. Draupadi could not bear the sorrow and anger she felt at the thought of her

helplessness under the intolerable insult offered to her. Her deep distress made her forget the danger that would befall the Pandavas if they were discovered prematurely. She went that night to Bhima and waking him up, gave vent to her agonized sense of wrong. After telling him how brutally Kichaka had pursued and insulted her, she appealed piteously to Bhima for protection and revenge. She said in a voice choked with sobs: "I cannot bear this any longer. You must kill this wretch at once. For your sake, to help you keep your promise, I serve in a menial office and even prepare sandal paste for Virata. I have not minded it, I, who have till now served only you or Mother Kunti, whom I love and honor. But now, I have to serve these wretches, fearful every moment of some disgraceful outrage. Not that I mind hard work, see my hands." And she showed her hands, which were cracked and stained with menial tasks. Bhima respectfully carried her hands to his face and eyes, and speechless with sorrow and pity and love, he dried her tears. Finally he found his voice, and said thickly: "I care not for the promise of Yudhishthira or the advice of Arjuna. I care not what may happen but I w do as you say. I will ill kill Kichaka and his gang here and now!" and he rose. But Draupadi warned Bhima not to be hasty. They talked it over and finally decided that Kichaka should be beguiled to come alone at night to a retired spot in the dancing hall where he should find waiting for him Bhima disguised as a woman, instead of Draupadi. Next morning, Kichaka renewed his hateful attentions and vaingloriously said to Draupadi: "O Sairandhri, I threw you

down and kicked you in the presence of the king. Did any one there come forward to help you? Virata is only king in name of this Matsya country. But I, the commander-in-chief, am the real sovereign. Now, do not be a fool, but come and enjoy life with me, with all royal honors. I shall be your devoted servant." And he begged and bullied and cringed, devouring her the while with lustreddened eyes. Draupadi pretended to yield and said: "Kichaka, believe me, I can no longer resist your solicitations. But none of your companions or brothers should know of our relations. If you swear that you will faithfully keep the secret from others, I shall yield to your wish." Kichaka delightedly agreed to the condition and he promised to go alone to a place of assignation that very night. She said: "The women have their dancing lessons during daytime in the dancing hall and return to their own quarters at nightfall. None will be in the dancing hall at night. Come there tonight. I shall be waiting for you there. You can have your will of me." Kichaka reveled in happiness. That night, Kichaka took his bath, perfumed and decked himself, went to the dancing hall and finding with joy that the doors were open, gently entered the place. In the very dim light, he saw someone lying there on a couch, no doubt Sairandhri. He groped his way in the dark, and gently laid his hands on the person of the sleeper. Alas! It was not the soft form of Sairandhri that he touched but the iron frame of Bhima who lept forth on him like a lion on its prey and hurled him to the ground. But surprised as he was, Kichaka was no coward, and he was now fighting for dear life.

Grimly they wrestled, Kichaka no doubt thinking he had to do with one of the Gandharva husbands. They were not ill matched, for at that time Bhima, Balarama and Kichaka were reputed to be in the same class in strength and wrestling skill. The struggle between Bhima and Kichaka was like that between Vali and Sugriva. In the end Bhima killed Kichaka, pounding and kneading his body into a shapeless lump of flesh. Then he gave the glad news of Kichaka's punishment to Draupadi and went in haste to his kitchen, bathed, rubbed sandal paste over his body and slept with satisfaction. Draupadi awoke the guards of the court and said to them: "Kichaka came to molest me, but as I had warned him, the Gandharvas, my husbands, made short work of him. Your commander-in-chief, who fell a prey to lust, has been killed. Look at him." And she showed them the corpse of Kichaka, which had been reduced to such a shapeless mass that it had no human semblance. 45. MATSYA DEFENDED THE fate of Kichaka made Draupadi an object of fear to the people of Virata. "This woman, so beautiful that she captures all hearts, is as dangerous as she is lovely, for the Gandharvas guard her. She is a great danger to the people of the city and the members of the royal household, for the Gandharvas may stop at nothing in their jealous anger. It would be best to send her out of the city." Reflecting thus, the citizens went to Sudeshna and prayed to her to expel Draupadi. Sudeshna told Draupadi: "You are, no doubt, a very virtuous lady, but kindly leave our city. I have had enough of you." There was only one month more to complete the stipulated period of living incognito and Draupadi begged earnestly to be permitted to stay just another month

by when, she said, her Gandharva husbands would have realised their objects and would be ready to take her away with them. The Gandharvas would be very grateful to King Virata and his kingdom. Whether grateful or not, the Gandharvas could be deadly if irritated and Sudeshna was too afraid of Draupadi to refuse her request. From the beginning of the thirteenth year, the spies of Duryodhana, under his express orders, had searched for the Pandavas in all possible places of hiding. After several months of futile search, they reported their failure to Duryodhana and added that probably the Pandavas had perished of privations. Then came the news that the powerful Kichaka had been killed in single combat by some Gandharva on account of a woman. There were only two persons who could kill Kichaka, and Bhima was one of them. And so they suspected that Bhima might have been the vengeful Gandharva who had killed Kichaka. Duryodhana also felt that the lady who was the cause of the killing might be Draupadi. He expressed his doubts in the open assembly. He said: "I suspect that the Pandavas are in Virata's city. Now, he is one of the kings who are too stiff-necked to court our friendship. It would be a good thing to invade his country and carry away his cows. If the Pandavas are hiding there, they will certainly come out to fight with us to repay Virata's hospitality and we can easily spot them. If we discover them there and we can sure before the stipulated time, they will have to go to the forest again for another twelve, years. If, on the other hand, the Pandavas are not there, there is nothing lost." King Susarma, the ruler of Trigarta heartily supported him. "The king of Matsya is my enemy." he said, "and

Kichaka has given me a lot of trouble. Kichaka's death must have weakened Virata considerably. Give me leave to attack Virata now." Karna seconded this proposition. They unanimously came to the decision that Susarma should attack Matsya from the south and draw off the army of Virata to the south for defence. Duryodhana, with the Kaurava army, would then launch a surprise attack on Virata from the northern side, which would be relatively undefended. Susarma invaded Matsya from the south seized the cattle and laid waste the gardens and fields on the way. The cowherds ran in great distress to Virata, who now very much wished that Kichaka were alive, for he surely would have made short work of the raiders. When he said so to Kanka (the assumed name by which Yudhishthira was known in Virata's court) the latter said: "O king, be not worried. Even though I am a hermit, I am an expert in warfare. I shall put on armor and go in a chariot and drive away your enemies. Please instruct that your horse keeper Dharmagranthi, your chief cook Valala, and your stable herd Tantripala may also get into chariots and help us. I have heard that they are great fighters. Kindly give orders that the necessary chariots and the weapons may be given to us." Delighted, Virata was only too willing to accept the offer. The chariots were ready. All the Pandavas excepting Arjuna went out with the army of Virata to oppose Susarma and his men. A fierce fight ensued between the armies of Virata and Susarma, with much loss of life on both sides. Susarma attacked Virata and surrounded his chariot, compelling him to get down and fight on foot. Susarma captured Virata and held him captive in his chariot. With the capture of

Virata, the army of Matsya lost heart and began to scatter in all directions, when Yudhishthira commanded Bhima to attack Susarma and release Virata and rally the scattered Matsya forces. At these words of Yudhishthira, Bhima was about to uproot a tree, but Yudhishthira stopped him and said: "No such tricks, please, and no battle cry or your identity will be revealed. Fight like anybody else from the chariot with your bows and arrows." Bhima accordingly got into the chariot attacked the enemy, set Virata free and captured Susarma. The dispersed forces of Matsya rallied into new formations charged and defeated the army of Susarma. As soon as the news of Susarma's defeat reached the city, the people were extremely jubilant. They decorated the city and went forth to welcome their victorious king back home. When they were thus making preparations to receive king Virata, the big army of Duryodhana came down on them from the north, and began despoiling the cattle ranches on the outskirts of the city. The Kaurava army marched in force and rounded up the countless cows that were there. The leader of the cowherds ran to the city and said to the prince Uttara: "O prince, the Kauravas are marching on, robbing us of our cows. King Virata has gone south to fight against the Trigarta. We are in consternation as there is no one to protect us. You are the king's son and we look to you for protection. Pray, come and recover the cows for the honor of your family." When the leader of the cowherds made this complaint to Uttara in the presence of the people and especially of the women of the palace, the prince felt flushed with valor and proudly said:

"If only I can get someone to be my charioteer I will recover the cows singlehanded. Well, my feats of arms will be worth seeing and people will know there is little to choose between Arjuna and myself." When Uttara said these words Draupadi was in the inner apartments and must have laughed within herself. She ran to princess Uttara and said: "O princess, great danger has be fallen the country. The cowherds have complained to the young that the Kaurava army is advancing on our city from the north and has captured cattle ranches and cows on the outskirts. The prince is eager to fight them and is in need of a charioteer. Should such a small thing as that stand in the way of victory and glory? I tell you that Brihannala has been Arjuna's charioteer. When I was in the service of the queen of the Pandavas, I heard of this fact and I also know that Brihannala learnt archery from Arjuna. Order Brihannala immediately to go and drive the prince's chariot." Arjuna as Brihannala pretended to be unfamiliar with armor and raised a laugh at his awkwardness in wearing it. The women of the palace laughed at his fears and told him again not to be afraid for Uttara would look after him. Arjuna spent some time in such fun but, when he harnessed the horses, it could be seen that, at least, he was an expert charioteer. And when he held the reins, the horses seemed to love and obey him. "The prince will be victorious. We shall despoil the enemy of their embroidered robes and distribute them to you as the prize of victory" were the last words of Brihannala to the women of the palace, as the chariot rapidly bore the prince outwards to battle. 46. PRINCE UTTARA

I simply cannot. singular. The young prince has brought the attendant of the . And presently the Kaurava army was sighted. by discipline. Have no fear. Uttara's distress was pitiable. line. the first time they came under fire. His limbs were all in a tremble. full of fierce determination and the ladies expect great things of you. who could see this spectacle." With these words Brihannala began to drive the chariot towards the enemy and they approached quite close to them. attack an army? I have no troops." Brihannala laughed and said: "O prince. since the king. It is absurd to think that one man can alone fight a well-equipped army. Let us stand firm and fight. the horses were put to their best speed. Fear is a strong instinctive feeling. If we return without recovering the cows. What sense is there in fighting people who are immeasurably stronger than we fight? Do not be a fool! Turn back the chariot. Kripa. I will not turn back the chariot. Duryodhana and Karna. Otherwise. The prince fled hither and thither. we shall become the laughing-stock of all. by any means. Let the Kauravas march off with the cows and if the women laugh. albeit dressed fantastically. leaving the city unprotected. Even men who have afterwards distinguished themselves by heroic deeds have confessed to having felt something like panic fear. single-handed. Sairandhri praised me and I have come at your request. He said in a quaking voice: "I cannot do it. found it amusing. for he fought and fell gauntly at Kurukshetra. Those of the Kaurava army. shame or hate. or more usually. He shut his eyes with both his hands to keep out the fearsome sight. When he remarked about this.UTTARA. got down from the chariot and began to fly towards the city. The braided hair of the charioteer began to dance and his clothes began to wave as he ran in pursuit of Uttara." With these words Uttara cast off his bows and arrows. has taken all available forces. at first a gleaming. his courage. Uttara was by no means an exceptional coward. Karna said: "How can this be Arjuna? What does it matter even if he is? What can Arjuna alone do against us in the absence of the other Pandavas? The king has left his son alone in the city and gone with his whole army to fight against Susarma. the son of Virata. mad with panic. led by world-renowned warrior! Oh Brihannala. let them. His mouth went dry and his hair stood on end. you started from the city. Nor is Uttara's panic during his first battle. seemed a man rigged out as a woman and to remind him curiously of Arjuna. shouting to him to stop and behave like a Kshatriya. though it can be overcome by will-power or strong motives like love. At that sight. I do not care. turn back the chariot. I shall jump out and walk back. This should not be taken as something that has never happened in life. trying to dodge the hands that would stop him. Drona. my father. Uttara saw the great army drew in battle by Bhishma. enveloped in a cloud of dust that seemed to go up to the skies. which had been gradually drying up during the rapid rush to the field. Willingly. Going nearer. The citizens also have put their trust in you. He said:"How can I. Arjuna pursued the running prince. set off with enthusiasm from the city in his chariot with Brihannala as his charioteer and commanded the latter to drive quickly to the place where the Kauravas had rounded up the cows. Drona was puzzled at the sight of Brihannala who. was quite gone.

O prince. You will have all the glory. Arjuna is the victorious hero whose very contact has put heart and courage into me." As soon as they came near the tree Brihannala bade the prince get down. no good ever came of flight. prince. You will also gain renown and it will be a lesson to you. How can I touch a dead body? How can you ask me to do such a thing?" Arjuna said: "It is not a corpse. how fortunate I am to see you with my own eyes! So. I am full of fear. who serves the king. the bag tied up there and came down. I am a child grown up on my mother's lap. and would not let him go.ladies of the palace as his charioteer. I shall fight with the Kauravas. He asked with ardor: "O charioteer. the cook who prepares such nice dishes for your father." Seeing that resistance was of no avail Uttara climbed up the tree as Brihannala had asked him to and took. the keeper of the cows. When the leather bag was opened. Valala. Believe me. are Nakula and Sahadeva respectively. who was watching all this intently." Poor Uttara was imploring Brihannala to let him go. seized him and dragged him to the chariot by force. Forgive the wrongs I have done through ignorance. He appealed to his pity: "I am the only son of my mother." But." With these words Arjuna lifted the prince on to the chariot and. That is all. Do you know them? Where are they?" Then Arjuna told him briefly how they were all in Virata's court. The touch seemed to send a stream of hope and high courage into him. I am Arjuna. promising untold wealth if he did so. He mustered courage and touched them." Then Uttara folded his hands and said: "O Arjuna. Uttara began to sob and said: "What a fool I was to brag! Alas! What will happen to me?" Arjuna said kindly. knew that the fantastically dressed charioteer was Arjuna and shared his knowledge with Bhishma. Brihannala wanted to save him from himself. I know that it contains the weapons of the Pandavas. Sairandhri. so that Uttara might not lose grip of his newly awakened courage. Be not afraid. asked him to drive towards a tree near the burial ground. in great disgust. He said: "Kanka. arrows and swords belong to the Pandavas. The prince said in alarm and grief: "People say that what hangs on this tree is the corpse of an old huntress. he saw weapons as bright as the sun. Climb up the tree bravely and bring them down. you will soon see me defeat the Kauravas even in the sight of Bhishma. Dharmagranthi. We will rout the enemy and recover your cows. Help me by looking after the horses and driving the chariot. for insulting whom Kichaka was killed. Drona and Aswatthama and recover the cows. is Yudhishthira. he will be only playing into our hands. Do not delay. is none other than Bhima. Arjuna recounted some of his heroic deeds. He pursued him. climb the tree and take down the arms hidden there. Drona. putting the reins in his hands." As they approached the Kaurava host. for his being discovered will send the Pandavas to the forest for another twelve years. Duryodhana turned to Karna and said: "Why should we worry who he is? Even if he is Arjuna. Uttara stood amazed at the sight of the gleaming weapons and covered his eyes. soothing the prince's fears: "Be not afraid. Arriving in . what a wonder! You say that these bows. and I shall do the rest. who looks after the horses and Tantripala. They have been deprived of their kingdom and they have retired to the forest. is Draupadi.

The story of Uttara. prayed to God. Let us leave him in the rear and advance to the battle. PROMISE FULFILLED THE chariot of Arjuna thundered on its way. They may drive away the cows of the Matsya king while. got into the chariot and gloried in the familiar feel of his famous Gandiva bow. And he did what he could to put courage into Uttara and make him worthy of his lineage. who spoke boastfully in the ladies' boudoirs and fled in panic at the sight of the hostile array. has come. But why need we fear even if it were Parasurama? I will myself stop the advancing warrior and redeem my word to you. Whether he does so from fear or excessive fondness for the Pandavas. Arjuna. the beautiful scorn the plain. The rich scorn the poor. Knowing that nature had endowed him with courage and bravery at birth. Why then should we give way to fear? The Pandavas will have to go again to the forest for another twelve years." When Arjuna stood on the chariot in all his godlike stature and blew his conch Devadatta. who are afraid. began to blow his own trumpet." and Karna. he had the true humility of the really great. which means one who shrank from doing an unworthy act. He said: "The acharya ever delights in singing Arjuna's praises and in magnifying his prowess. The thirteenth year has not ended yet. The hearts of the Kauravas quaked when they heard the twang of the Gandiva bow. It is in ordinary human nature to look with contempt on lower levels of conduct in ability." Karna assented and said: "Our soldiers' heart is not in the fight and they are trembling with fear. his not been introduced in the Mahabharata. he said: "This is pure tomfoolery. One of his many names is Bibhatsu. But Arjuna was no ordinary man. I do not know. We must all make a combined attack on Arjuna. Brave men despise cowards.front of the Kauravas. This was Arjuna's characteristic nobility. stood facing the east. meditated on his armor. as usual. He never abused his strength and power. Those. need not fight." said Drona anxiously. merely as a comic interlude. He then tied a cloth on his flowing hair. Drona is suffering from the cold feet of the too learned. seeming to shake the earth. but . and fight him. removed the conchbangles from his hands and put on leather gauntlets. engaging Arjuna in battle. 47. brave man was to help others to rise above their weakness. the Kaurava army was alarmed and a frenzied shout arose that the Pandavas had come. aye. is Arjuna. He stringed it and thrice twanged the string whose shrill note raised an echo from all sides. Do not therefore. he got down. even if all the others stand back." Karna grew angry. "Our army must be arrayed well and with care. the heroes of the Kaurava army said to one another: "This surely is Gandiva's voice. I shall give them cover. brag about your opposing him alone and unaided. bow in hand. When Kripa heard these words of Karna. Duryodhana did not at all like the honor Drona did Arjuna by this anxiety. who stands so proudly. and that he owed them to no special exertions on his part. He was a great soul and a true hero who felt that his duty as a strong. Hearing the sound. He said to Karna: "The Pandavas' pledge was that they would spend twelve years in the forest and the following year undiscovered. and the strong scorn the weak. and he lived up to it. Arjuna has revealed himself before the time. That would be our one chance of success. They say that the man. on the chariot. single handed. speeding towards us.

Let us address ourselves to the task before us. place and circumstance. movable and immovable. while others. One should engage in battle only after a careful calculation of time. a mere soldier who loves my friends and hates my enemies. sneak a victory in battle for you?" The leaders of the Kaurava army lost their patience and began a loud wordy warfare. A fight with Arjuna. The fire is silent and yet cooks the food. Mother earth sustains all things. What business have men learned in the Vedas. O Karna. The stipulated period of thirteen years terminated yesterday. Reflect a little before deciding on war. If we quarrel amongst ourselves we cannot fight Arjuna. If you wish to make . Vain fools. Ruffled by anger. who fight and conquer kingdoms. you will find. I. The Gandiva will send forth sharp arrows and not fours and twos as in the game of dice. Seeing this. do you think that Sakuni can. by mere cheating. even the usually so sensible Duryodhana fails to recognise that the warrior who stands braving our army is Arjuna. But I have not been able to find in any sastra that it is honor able for kings to seize kingdoms by cheating at dice. will stand here and fight. Aswatthama. Even wise people often lose their balance and good sense over their own affairs. in what battle did your heroes defeat the Pandavas? You dragged Draupadi to the assembly. Your brag is idle vainglory. Are you proud of it? You have destroyed the Kaurava race like an empty-headed clod that fells a big sandal tree for love of its fragrance. angry feelings subsided. Kripa and Aswatthama should forget and forgive. as men learned in the science of planetary movements will tell you. What claim to praise has a kshatriya who has unlawfully seized another's kingdom at a game of dice? To have cheated the Pandavas of their kingdom is no more a matter of glory than to have spread traps for unsuspecting birds." Thus spoke the grandsire. engage in battle. got here?" said he sneeringly. do not crow too loudly about it. You must take them as intended merely to put the preceptors on their best spirit and sting them nto action. And I cannot see what you have done to be proud of. who love and praise their enemies. O Aswatthama.may simply look on. Soothed by his noble words. I knew that the period had ended when Arjuna blew his conch. who are true to the salt they have eaten. heroes superior to Drona. i This is not the time to nurse enmity or sow dissension. Drona's son and Kripa's nephew. who combine in themselves Vedic scholarship and kshatriya heroism? We know of none other than Parasurama who can equal Drona. It may be that we are not kshatriyas and that we belong to the class that recites the Vedas and the sastras. Where can the Kauravas find in the whole world. The sun shines but not on him. Arjuna has come. Even those. Likewise. pray do not mind Karna's offensive remarks. and his son Aswatthama. Bhishma turned to Duryodhana and continued: "Best of kings. and the battle is yet to be won. We can conquer Arjuna only if we all join together and fight him. the grandsire was filled with sorrow and said: "The wise man does not insult his teachers. He said sternly to Karna: "We have not yet taken the king back to Hastinapura. for one. and supports her burden without so much as a whisper. could not hear unmoved this sneer at the venerable teachers. O Duryodhana. Your calculation is wrong. is a very different thing from a throw of the dice. the preceptor. Drona. His intellect has been clouded by anger.

Our cows have been regained. I have no wish for peace. When Aswatthama grew weary. Arjuna fought and finally. Finally. now is the time for it. Arjuna reached the place where the cows were gathered and put to rout the marauding forces. a just and honorable peace or a mutually destructive war? Ponder well and make your choice. he made at Karna and drove him from the battlefield. I see Bhishma standing. After that. by drawing his Gandiva bow and sending arrows so as to fall near their feet. And as he was going." On the way back. Then. Seeing Drona standing spent with fatigue. Arjuna deposited the weapons as before on the tree and dressed . O prince. Aswatthama joined in the fight and attacked Arjuna. Bhishma sent him back to the city. Arjuna then pursued Duryodhana. clad in armor. turn back the horses. he turned round like a serpent and resumed the fight. Let another surround the cows and seize them. after a glorious fight between Bhishma and Arjuna. adorning your person with sandal paste and decked with flowers. Bhishma and the other Kaurava warriors rushed to the rescue and. I do not see Duryodhana's chariot or Duryodhana. which. return to your kingdom. The attempt to head off Arjuna’s pursuit of Duryodhana thus failed and soon Arjuna came up with Duryodhana and strongly attacked him." The Kaurava forces ranged themselves accordingly in battle array. Arjuna said: "O Uttara. they left the field. Drona and others. Arjuna said: "O Uttara. I think Duryodhana is driving away the cows to Hastinapura. the gods themselves came to see. The seizure of the clothes of the enemy was the sign of decisive victory in those days." Then Drona said: "Let prince Duryodhana take away a fourth of the army to guard him and return to Hastinapura. Our enemies have fled. If we return without seizing the cows it would amount to an acknowledgment of defeat. When Duryodhana came. but not far. surrounding Arjuna. He then turned to the cowherds and asked them to take the cows to the barns. Kripa relieved him and maintained the attack against Arjuna. when Arjuna taunted him with cowardice. Though rallied and brought back to the attack by Bhishma. Reverently saluting them in this heroic fashion. because. which they did with great rejoicing." With these words Arjuna moved away from the Kaurava army and went after Duryodhana and the cows. sent forth arrows against him. he employed a magic weapon that made them all fall down unconscious on the battlefield. there was no fight left in them. he respect fully greeted his teachers and the old grandsire. But Kripa also sustained defeat and the whole army was routed and fled in fear. With the rest of the army. While they were in that condition he snatched away their garments. he attacked and defeated Drona. Let us get ready for war. Let us pursue him and recover the cows.peace with the Pandavas. I shall not give even a village to the Pandavas. The whole army returned to Hastinapura after this humiliating defeat. Bhishma and others surrounded and protected him. Duryodhana was defeated and fled from the battlefield." Duryodhana replied: "Revered sire. which gave Arjuna an opportunity of letting Drona withdraw from the field. there ensued a bitter struggle between Aswatthama and Arjuna. it is said. Seeing this. the five of us will give battle to Arjuna. First. What do you seek. he left them and pursued Duryodhana. Arjuna carried on a wonderful fight.

He sent messengers in advance to proclaim in the city that Uttara had won a glorious victory. you expatiate on the charioteering skill of the eunuch. soldiers. my lion-hearted boy. Brihannala . He has put the famed Kaurava warriors to flight. He then bade his ministers collect and send as strong a force as could be got together for rescuing Uttara if he was still alive and bring him back. I happen to know that even Indra's charioteer or Krishna's cannot equal Brihannala. "You do not know about her. "My dearly loved son must be dead by now. But the king's heart sank within him at the news.himself once more as Brihannala. he saw that Uttara was not there and the womenfolk told him with much elation that Uttara had set out to conquer the Kauravas. "The prince's is the real victory. again and again babble about the eunuch?" he cried. 48. "While I am talking about my son's victory. There is nothing extraordinary in your son's victory. They talked while they played and naturally. He made large gifts of precious stones and other wealth to the messengers who brought the good news and ordered public rejoicing. now disguised as the sanyasin Kanka. When the king retired to his private apartments. Scouts also were immediately despatched to find out Uttara's whereabouts and fate. This seemed too good to be true." Meanwhile courtiers arrived from the field of battle with the glad news that Uttara had defeated the Kaurava forces and recovered the kine. They had not a doubt that their hand some prince could conquer the whole world. let us play. without the best of good fortune. When Brihannala went out as charioteer. Dharmaputra. as if that were of any significance. but Yudhishthira smilingly reassured him. Virata returned to his capital amidst the acclamations of the citizens. even to the fond father. king of Trigarta. overwhelmed with anguish. he asked Sairandhri to bring the dice." replied Yudhishthira with a smile. tried to comfort Virata by assuring him that the prince could come to no harm. "Why do you." The king's anger only increased when Kanka remonstrated: "I know what I am talking about. how could he have secured Brihannala to drive his chariot?" Virata was angry at this persistent glorification of Brihannala at the expenses of Uttara. Bhuminjaya. but he was too happy to resent it. success was certain. the news of Susarma's defeat must have reached there and the Kauravas must have retreated. He said to Kanka: "I cannot contain my joy. Come." and sat down to a game with Yudhishthira. Further. "See the glory of my son. can be sure of victory. the king was full of his son's greatness and prowess. in a befitting manner." Virata sent out ministers. Whosoever fights from a chariot driven by her. returning in triumph. "Your son is indeed fortunate for." he cried. When he reached his palace." This seemed absurd to Virata. Said he: "Have no doubts." said he. Let all the principal streets are decorated with flags and the citizen’s go in procession to strains of triumphal music." "Yes. O king. "My success over Susarma is nothing. for he knew the impossible task which the delicately nurtured prince had taken on himself with no better following than a eunuch. Make all arrangements to receive. VIRATA'S DELUSION AFTER defeating Susarma. What the messengers say must be true. "I do. and maidens to welcome his son. Let special prayers of thanksgiving be offered at all places of worship." he proclaimed. since Brihannala had gone as his charioteer.

to whom all this was inexplicable. in marriage to him. Brihannala should stay behind." Uttara was overwhelmed with fear. father." Now. "Alas! You have done great wrong." And Yudhishthira whispered to the sentry: "Let Uttara come alone." Uttara spoke thus because Arjuna was indeed a prince of the gods and had also for the time being disappeared in Brihannala." Meanwhile the gatekeeper announced: "Uttara and Brihannala have arrived. When he turned to do obeisance to Kanka be was horrified to see his bleeding face. Uttara. "and rescued no cows. "Why all this fuss? What are you collecting the blood into a cup for?" demanded the angry king. who was still in a passion. "I must see and thank the hero who rescued my son and beat back my foes. and whoever is in it. "I conquered no army. the eunuch." "He has disappeared for the time being. this perverse flouting could not be borne. and gave the victory to him. embracing his son and making him sit. Each time I mentioned you. no matter how difficult. wiped the blood with the edge of her garment and squeezed it into a golden cup. all the leading citizens had gathered to celebrate ." Virata got up excitedly and said: "Ask him in." The king could hardly believe his ears. He took up our cause. Uttara entered and paid due homage to his royal father. ask him in. The prince is waiting for an audience with the king. root and branch. "The rains will fail in your land for as many years as there are drops in the blood that is split on the earth.is no ordinary person. and Virata in a passion flung the dice at Yudhishthira's face and followed this up with a blow on Yudhishthira's cheek. In Virata's hall of assembly. and I am sorry I struck him. "A Sanyasin's blood may not be split on the ground. Sairandhri who was nearby. All that was the work of a god prince. "O king. rescued me from destruction. Thereafter. stood with a puzzled frown not knowing what to do. It was too silly really." he cried. I fear you do not know Kanka's greatness." he said. That was why I collected the blood in this cup. I did nothing. But Uttara was so anxious and importunate that he yielded and bowed to Yudhishthira asking for pardon. is sure of success in any undertaking. The chariot she drives can never see defeat. you are truly a hero. Virata said: "My boy. for now he knew that Kanka was the great Yudhishthira. and pray forforgiveness or we will be destroyed. O king. "but I think he will come again either today or tomorrow. but it is not worth talking about." He did this to prevent a catastrophe. for he knew Arjuna would be unable to control his anger when he saw the injury on his brother's face." replied Sairandhri. "Where is that god prince?" he asked. Fall at his feet right now. this unlucky brahmana extolled your charioteer." replied the prince. I will give my daughter. put the Kaurava soldiers to flight and brought the herd back. Go and fetch him in. How did you defeat the Kaurava army? How did you recover the kine?" Uttara hung his head down. He could not bear to see Dharmaputra hurt by anyone except in fair battle. I am in a fever of impatience to hear all about it." Virata. Yudhishthira was hurt and blood flowed down his face. "who was it that caused hurt to this great one?" Virata looked at his son and said: "Why all this fuss about it? I struck him for untimely and envious belittling of you when I was in an ocean of delight at the news of your glorious victory.

Meanwhile. I. The wedding celebrations over." 49. the Panchala prince. after all. you have to dwell in the forest for another twelve years.the king's victory and the prince's. who were responsible for the victories. Valala the cook. Abhimanyu's marriage to princess Uttara was solemnized according to Vedic rites before that illustrious gathering of friendly heroes. When they felt they had enough fun. The venerable Bhishma and others learned in the stars will no doubt tell him that full thirteen years had been completed before your forces heard again the twang of Dhananjaya's bow and fled in fear." Dharmaputra laughed and said: "Messengers." they said. He embraced Kanka in exuberant gratitude and made a formal surrender of his kingdom and his all to him. was there too with three divisions. But Arjuna said: "No." He. From there. He let himself be recognised before the end of the thirteenth year and so. From Dwaraka came Balarama and Krishna with Arjuna’s wife Subhadra. they sent emissaries to summon their friends and relatives. "O son of Kunti. another place in Matsya territory. arrived also and entering the hall. Kanka. The Kasi prince and Saibya ruler arrived with their forces. that would not be proper. of course immediately receiving them back with thanks. sat among the princes unbid. in accordance with your undertaking. as her teacher. Loud and long was the blare of trumpet-conchs as the Matsya prince and the Pandavas went forth to receive Janardana. Krishna sat next to Yudhishthira and Virata. bringing with him Sikhandin and Draupadi's sons and her brother Dhrishtadyumna. "Duryodhana feels very sorry that owing to the hasty action of Dhananjaya. Brihannala. while Balarama and Satyaki were . they left Virata's capital as Pandavas and settled openly in Upaplavya. agreed to accept her for his son Abhimanyu. and her son. On seeing Kanka sanyasin and the cook and the others seated in places reserved for princess and the nobility the king lost his temper and gave loud vent to his displeasure. well attached to the Pandavas. Abhimanyu and accompanied by many Yadava warriors. Indrasena and many others like him. Drupada. you have to go back to the woods again. for the princess learnt dancing and music from me. Tantripala and Dharmagranthi. Virata was beside himself with joy to think that it was the Pandava princes and Panchali who had been ministering to him all these days in disguise. return quickly to Duryodhana and tell him to make further inquiry. am in the position of father to her. Virata also insisted that he should give his daughter in marriage to Arjuna. TAKING COUNSEL THE thirteenth year during which the Pandavas had to remain undiscovered came to an end. who had at the beginning of the preceding year left the Pandavas in the forest. the Pandavas disclosed their identity to the amazement of all present. Some explained the conduct by saying that. these humbler folk had rendered invaluable service at a critical time and really deserved recognition. envoys arrived from the wicked and treacherous Duryodhana with a message for Yudhishthira. Virata entered the court. however. rejoined them with their chariots at Upaplavya. to the surprise of everyone. No longer obliged to be in disguise. they met in conclave in Virata's hall of assembly. There were many other princes gathered at Upaplavya.

in spite of every difficulty. and secure support for Kunti's sons. who now rose to speak. Devise a just and honorable settlement. I endorse it as good for both Duryodhana and Dharmaputra. that is to say. He should be one who. Princes. he yet played against him. A fit envoy would be one who is not a warmonger but is dead set." Balarama then rose to address the gathering. He rose in anger and spoke indignantly: "Balarama's words do not strike me as in the least degree just. if skilful . on achieving a peaceful settlement. Balarama did not relish an armed conflict among scions of the same family and rightly held that war would lead only to disaster. Dharmaputra. which will be in consonance with dharma and contribute to the glory and welfare of both Pandavas and Kauravas. "You all know. If Kunti's sons can get back their kingdom by a peaceful settlement. they need not serve another term of exile in the forest. The envoy should get the cooperation of Bhishma. Dhritarashtra. bear in mind the fraud and meanness of the Kauravas as well as the honorable magnanimity of the Pandavas. Kripa and Aswatthama and even of Karna and Sakuni if possible. In giving your counsel. Dharmaputra could only supplicate for the return of what he had lost and not claim it as of right. We do not know what Duryodhana has in his mind. "You have just heard Krishna. obstinately disregarding the reasoning of friends. Only that which accrues in peace is worth while." Balarama's position was that Yudhishthira knew what he was doing when he gambled away his kingdom and could not now claim it as of right. the Yadava warrior. the sons of Pandu have patiently borne their trouble in redemption of their pledged word. One can. Let us avoid an armed conflict by all the means in our power." he said. The fulfilment of the conditions of exile could only give the Pandavas their personal freedom and not their kingdom. with full knowledge of consequences. I desire you to approach Duryodhana tactfully and make peace with him. Dharmaputra desires nothing that he cannot justly claim. Drona and Vidura. Only then will there be happiness and peace in the land. Satyaki. Out of war. For. But it gave them no right to the return of their kingdom. "The solution he propounds is wise and just. He cannot now complain but can only supplicate for his rights. could not contain himself. Someone has to go to convey to Duryodhana Yudhishthira's wish for a peaceful settlement and bring an answer from him. Ponder well and counsel a course. on no account. nothing could be better for them. nothing but wrong can issue. Fully aware that he was no match for the adept Sakuni. He wishes nothing but good even to the sons of Dhritarashtra who deceived him and did him grievous wrong. staked his kingdom and lost it. The poet puts an eternal truth in Balarama's mouth. I feel we should send an able and upright emissary to him to persuade him to a peaceful settlement by the restoration of half the kingdom to Yudhishthira. As the bustle died down." said Krishna to the hushed assembly. the Kauravas and for all concerned. would give way to anger. a man who has the weight and the ability to bring about peace and good understanding.seated beside Drupada. who heard Balarama speak thus. "the story of the great deceit how Yudhishthira was cheated at the game board and deprived of his kingdom and exiled with his brothers and Draupadi to the forest. For thirteen years. all eyes were turned on Krishna.

his boyhood friends. Duryodhana and his associates. my friends. Do we not see in one and the same tree. send a suitable envoy to Dhritarashtra. allowing them to keep it is as unjust as confirming a thief in the possession of his booty! Anyone.enough. Instruct him well as to what he should say to Duryodhana and how he should convey the message to Bhishma. Jayatsena and Kekaya. he can have it and we shall be quite ready for it. make out a plausible plea for any case. does so in cowardly fear of Duryodhana. If Duryodhana desires war. And yet. He has kept his word and so have his brothers twelve years in exile in the forest and twelve months there after in disguise according to their pledge. How can a righteous war be wrong in any case? There is no sin in slaying enemies who take up arms and fight. Duryodhana and his brothers were not idle. We must. and entitled to advise us all. It is therefore only right that you should instruct the brahmana envoy on his mission of peace." The conference ended and Krishna left for Dwaraka with his people. Send word instantly to Salya. Krishna speaks words that breathe the spirit of dharma while Balarama's attitude is unworthy. Dhritarashtra and Dronacharya. Dhrishtaketu. Dhritarashtra too holds you. and send word to us. with confidence. If he fails to persuade Duryodhana out of his error. Duryodhana is not going to part with territory without a war and it would be folly to waste time. said: "What you suggest is practicable and also conforms to the kingly code. Great are you among the princes of the land. Not of his own volition but because the Kauravas pressed and invited him to do so. Baladeva and I are bound to the Kauravas and the Pandavas with equal ties of affection. Meanwhile. We came here for princess Uttara's wedding and will return now to our city. To supplicate before the enemy. who conducts the religious ceremonies in my court. one branch bowed with fruit and another sticking out gaunt and useless? So. He rose and said: "Satyaki is right and I support him. who finds fault with Dharmaputra. forgive my harsh speech." When Drupada concluded. I shall defeat these impudent villains in battle and they shall either seek Yudhishthira's pardon or meet their doom. can be sent to Hastinapura. The Pandavas and their allies went on with their preparations. And if you grant what cannot be doubted that the Kauravas cheated Yudhishthira of his share of the kingdom. alike in age and wisdom. of course. not for any sound reason. now that he has fulfilled his pledges? Yudhishthira is not a mendicant and need not beg. in high esteem like Drona and Kripa. Let there be no delay and let us get on with the preparations. which fills me with disgust. They also began preparing . of these brothers. most shamelessly and dishonestly. Vasudeva (Krishna. Messengers went forth to all the friendly princes who got busy and mobilised their respective armies. prepare for the inevitable conflict. O princes. Soft words will not bring Duryodhana round to reason. Why should he bow and supplicate before Duryodhana." Drupada's heart was gladdened by Satyaki's resolute words. did the novice and unwilling Dharmaputra play with a dishonest gambler that game so fraught with disaster. question the performance. is to incur disgrace. The learned brahmana. why then. the son of Vasudeva) rose and addressing Drupada. I must protest against Balarama's stand. but not all the skill in the world can convert wrong into right or injustice into justice. Let us continue our preparations for war and let our friends be warned without loss of time to bring up their forces.

weak king. Show the old. Because they were his close relatives. if this happens. "The constant rapid journeying back and forth of princes caused a great stir everywhere. for outbreak of war and carrying on peace talks with the object of creating dissension in the enemy's ranks. Your mission may lead to differences of opinion among the elder statesmen such as Bhishma. When Mahadeva woke up. To Dwaraka. the same method was followed of carrying on negotiations and even sincerely working for peace. the path of dharma and wisdom. you are able to come back with good terms of peace. It would appear that even in olden days. to send one on a peace mission will be advantageous to us. I do not expect Duryodhana will agree to a peaceful settlement. Arjuna went himself. There they both waited for Krishna to wake up. took them unawares and attacked Pearl Harbor destroying their naval forces there. There is nothing new under the sun! 50. Drupada called in his brahmana and said to him: "You know Duryodhana's bent of mind as well as the qualities of the Pandavas. If. so much the better. Duryodhana too did not remain idle. it will be some time before those differences are smoothed out. Arjuna and Duryodhana. Duryodhana was the first to speak. ARJUNA'S CHARIOTEER HAVING sent Drupada's brahmana to Hastinapura on the peace mission. by a miracle. Still. . military preparations were made in much the same way as in our times. As long as you are in Duryodhana's capital talking of peace. immediately on the breakdown of those talks." says the poet. News of these preparations on both sides soon spread through out the land. who went in first. Duryodhana. And. And that. the Pandavas sent word. Learning that Vasudeva (Krishna) was back in his home city. Drupada's instruction to the brahmana would show that this was no new technique. the Japanese were carrying on negotiations with the Americans and. The two of them. Krishna was fast asleep. at the same time. even in the old days." In December 1941. he welcomed him too and asked them what brought them both to Dwaraka. The Kauravas deceived the Pandavas with the connivance of their father Dhritarashtra who would not listen to the sage advice of Vidura. seated himself on a decorated throne-chair at the head of the bed. as fast as his swiftest horses could take him. while Arjuna kept standing at its foot with arms folded in respectful posture. Go to him as the emissary of the Pandavas. their preparations for war will receive a set-back which is all to the good from the Pandavas' standpoint.for the coming conflict and sent word to their friends to get their contingents ready for war. Turning then to Duryodhana. but simultaneously preparing. his eyes fell on Arjuna who stood in front of him and he gave him warm welcome. Having understood through his spies the turn events were taking. The earth shook beneath the heavy tramp of marching legions. You will find in Vidura a great ally in this task. Drona and Kripa as well as among the warlords. Arjuna and Duryodhana could go into his bedroom. which will be time gained for the completion of the Pandavas war preparations. with unremitting vigor. who is misled by his son. to the princes likely to favor their cause to collect their forces and hold themselves in readiness for war. thus reached Dwaraka on the same day. he sped towards Dwaraka in his chariot.

Confirm with your conduct the traditional dharma and remember that it was I who came first. if it must be war. ." Duryodhana could hardly contain himself for joy at what he thought was Arjuna's imbecile choice. In my distribution of assistance. I too feel I can do it. Arjuna and I are equally beloved of you. I would. As he finished speaking. though you may wield no weapon. even in this respect. I am helpless." Turning to Arjuna he said. "Partha. when they were alone. It is impossible for me to side with one whom Krishna opposes. Vasudeva has been left without an army. I came here before Arjuna. We both claim equally close relationship with you. Often have I told Krishna that we have equal ties with the Kauravas and the Pandavas. so it is incumbent on you to set an example to others. I will not help Partha and I cannot support you against Krishna." for he was pleased with Arjuna's decision. offer the choice to Arjuna first. He gladly chose the help of Vasudevas army and his request was granted. Duryodhana returned to Hastinapura in high spirits saying to himself: "Arjuna has made a fool of himself. my tribesmen. or would you prefer the prowess of the Narayana? Exercise the right to the first choice which custom gives you as the younger man. they must have told you all I said at the time of the marriage of Virata's daughter." said he. I have desired this for long and you have today fulfilled my wish. You cannot say that either of us is nearer to you than the other." Scarcely had Krishna finished when Arjuna said with reverence and without hesitation: "I would be content if you are with us. which is respected by all the princes of the land. therefore. your claims on me are equal and I am therefore bound to render assistance to both sides. bear yourself in accordance with the Kshatriya code. Pleased with the acquisition of a mighty force. are my equals in battle and constitute a host." said he. you come of an illustrious line."It looks. the mighty Balarama said: "Duryodhana. why did you choose thus unwisely. I desire that I should win the battle with you driving my chariot unarmed. then." To which Purushottama (Krishna) answered: "Son of Dhritarashtra. If it does. alone and weaponless. Duryodhana went to Baladeva and told him the story. but it was Kunti's son that I saw immediately on waking up." "Dhananjaya. it was Arjuna who first caught my eye. So. You have the power and prowess to face all the princes of the land and their hordes in battle single-handed. and I individually on the other. preferring me alone and unarmed to my fully equipped and heroic forces?" asked Krishna of Arjuna with a smile. Arjuna answered: "My ambition is to achieve glory even like yours. If you were the first arrival. Would you want me. the traditional usage is to begin with the junior-most among the recipients. Tradition has it that he who came first should be shown preference. The great army of Dwaraka will fight on my side and Balarama's good wishes too are with me. it may be that you came here first. Well. "as though war would break out between us soon. In distributing favors. Duryodhana. I pleaded your case and urged everything that could be said for you. large and almost invincible. So. But I shall wield no weapon and take no part in actual fighting. think it over well. But my words failed to carry conviction to him." Vasudeva smiled again and pronounced this benediction: "Are you trying to compete with me? May you succeed. they will be on one side. Janardana. you must support me. The Narayana. you are the greatest among the great.

who was all the time moving unobserved with the party waiting on Salya and his soldiers. Salya was exceedingly pleased with the attentions paid to him but assumed that his nephew. "How noble and kind of you! How can I repay you?" Duryodhana replied: "You and your forces should fight on my side. seems condoned. He collected a very big army and set off towards that city to join the Pandavas. Please tell Kunti's son that he should let me do this. contain narratives to show how in this world even good people sometimes sin against Dharma. That is why the Puranas. for religious books thus to seem to justify wrong? A little reflection will enable one to see the matter in proper light. This is the reward I ask of you. and bring me his consent. this. at which Salya and his men were treated to wondrous hospitality. He heard that the Pandavas were camping in the city of Upaplavya and making preparations for war. SALYA AGAINST HIS NEPHEWS SALYA. thereby disturbing men's minds? It was not as though others had discovered the lapses and Vyasa and Valmiki had to defend their heroes. In accordance with Duryodhana's instruction. Greatly moved.This is the sacred story of how Krishna became Partha's charioteer. at once took this opportunity to present himself before Salya. It is necessary to bring home the fact that even wise. Duryodhana. Duryodhana. he exclaimed. although ever seeking to instil Dharma. Deciding that Salya should somehow be persuaded to join his side. the encampment extended over a length of nearly fifteen miles. Yudhishthira. The Puranas wherein right conduct is always preached. 51." The servants went and told their master." Salya was stunned. and he was also touched by the chivalry of Duryodhana in lavishing kingly hospitality on a partisan of the Pandavas. not in conformity with Dharma. sometimes set out stories in which conduct. the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva. The stories are artistic . Is it right. This amazed Salya whom till then had no suspicion of the truth. the earth shaking beneath their heavy strides. several beautifully decorated rest houses were erected at several places on the route. News of Salya and his marching forces reached Duryodhana. Duryodhana instructed his officers to provide him and his great army with all facilities and treat them to sumptuous hospitality. Salya's army marched on. Why indeed. and say how honored he felt at Salya's acceptance of the Kaurava hospitality. the ruler of Madradesa. humility and constant vigilance are absolutely necessary if one wishes to avoid evil. This is to press home the truth that howsoever learned one may be. was the brother of Madri. Feeling very pleased with the hospitality. Salya's army was so large that where it halted for rest. good and great men are liable to fall into error. Food and drink were lavishly provided. did the great authors of our epics write about the lapses of Rama in the Ramayana and Yudhishthira in the Mahabharata? Where was the need to make mention of them and then labor arguments to explain them away. one may ask. as though irresistibly driven to do so. had arranged all this. he called the waiting attendants one day and said to them: "I must reward you all who have treated me and my soldiers with so much love and attention.

I have given you my word of honor." "Go. Still I do. which arises from the difference in the character of the people who produced them. Duryodhana. I have acted wrongly. will soon be an avenged memory. Yudhishthira addressed Salya thus: "Great warrior." said Duryodhana. You are the equal of Vasudeva in battle and Karna will have you as his charioteer when he seeks Arjuna's life in the battlefield. "Good luck to you. Whatever may be the explanation offered by the protagonists of the cinema. You must agree to come to my aid." To which Salya rejoined: "My lad. When they started talking about obtaining his help in the war that was impending." Flattered by Duryodhana's splendid reception.creations in which lapses they impress the desired moral. if I happen to be his charioteer. thereby letting Duryodhana forestall them. The parts dealing with the lapses deeply distress the reader's mind and serve as solemn warnings of pitfalls. see him and return soon. VRITRA ." 52. Go back to your palace. which wait to engulf the careless. Nakula and Sahadeva were joyous beyond measure to see their uncle to whom the Pandavas narrated all their hardships and sufferings. "You are the same unto us both. This is the striking difference between our epics and the modern talkies. you are bound to keep the promise you have made to." Saying this. No one can prevent or alter what has been ordained by fate. Yudhishthira saw at once that it had been a mistake to take Salya's assistance for granted. Salya deserted the Pandavas who were entitled to his love and esteem and pledged his word to fight on Duryodhana's side which shows what dangers may lurk in receiving the hospitality of kings. This is not so in the Puranas. Fear not. I must however meet Yudhishthira and tell him what I have done. Feeling that it would not be right to go back without meeting Yudhishthira. They dispose the mind to humility and watchfulness and make it realise the need for divine guidance. Are you going to be the cause of Arjuna's death? Or are you going to save him then? I know I cannot fairly ask this of you. Bear with me. evil is presented on the screen in an attractive fashion that grips people's minds and tempts them into the path of wickedness. you may take it he will go to battle disheartened and Arjuna shall be saved. And do not forget your promise to me. I must mean as much to you as the Pandavas. the presentation is such as to warn the reader and not to allure him into evil ways. Although they do point out that even great men now and again fell into error and committed wrong. I will not betray you. Henceforth. believe me. Salya answered: "Be it so. Salya related to them the story of his promise to Duryodhana. But when Karna proceeds to attack Arjuna. The Pandavas received the ruler of Madra with great eclat. The sorrows and insults. yours will be good luck. Salya then turned to Duryodhana saying: "Duryodhana. Salya went to the city of Upaplavya where Yudhishthira was camping. which were visited on Draupadi and you all. Concealing his disappointment as best he could. The modern cinema also projects on the screen much that is bad and immoral. I have been tricked into giving Duryodhana my word and I shall be ranged against you in battle." said Duryodhana.

in his anger. performed a great sacrifice. saying: "Enemy of Indra. desirous of avenging his death. preceptor of the gods. This preyed on Indra's mind. attributing it to the arrogance of prosperity. the gods sought the youthful anchorite Visvarupa and made their request to him saying: "Though young in years. the court lost in splendor and dignity and became an unimpressive gathering. With Brihaspati gone. Said he to them: "You have. But Visvarupa did not succumb. In his great conceit." Heartened by these words. But this he could not do. Indra sought to entice him into error with the temptresses of his court and so weaken him spiritually. as a result of his guidance and teaching. The story goes that the world suffers vicariously for this great sin of Indra. sensing trouble for himself from the acharya's displeasure. because Brihaspati had. and venerated alike by the gods and the asuras. Indra persuaded himself to believe that the sastras allowed him as a king in court the prerogative of receiving guests seated. Without the high priest of the gods. Indra did not rise from his seat to receive the acharya or ask him to be seated and failed to do the customary honors. advised them to take unto themselves a new acharya. Indra's strength began to decline. they were saved from the tormenting asuras. mother was of the asura clan of daityas. When Indra found that his plan of seduction failed. He feared that because of his birth. I shall . foremost in all branches of learning. Visvarupa's. Then Brahma. the Lord of the three regions. which encouraged the latter to attack the gods. He held fast to his vow of celibacy. to the great advantage of the gods for. he gave way to murderous thoughts and one day killed Visvarupa with the Vajrayudha. taking pity on the beleaguered gods. he thought to make up with him by falling at his feet and asking for forgiveness. When the battle was going against Indra. And out of the sacrificial flames sprang Indra's mortal enemy Vritra. the rishis and the gods sought refuge in great Vishnu who offered them protection and said to them: "Be not afraid. came to his court. Twashta in his great rage and grief at Indra's cruel killing of his son and. while that of the asuras increased. Do us the honor of being our teacher. The artful and seductive blandishments of Indra's glamour girls had no effect on the young ascetic. Brihaspati was hurt by Indra's discourtesy and." A great battle raged between the two in which Vritra was gaining the upper hand. was once so drunk with pride that he quite forgot the courteous manners and forms that the gods had hitherto observed. parts of the earth turned alkaline and became unsuitable for cultivation and women came to be afflicted with the physical troubles and uncleanness peculiar to them. Apprehending danger to himself from this descendent of the enemies of the gods. made himself invisible. through Indra's folly. you are well versed in the Vedas. which caused Indra to regard Visvarupa with suspicion.INDRA. Visvarupa might not be quite loyal and his suspicion gradually deepened. may you be strong and may you kill Indra. Indra soon realized the foolishness of his conduct and. as a result of it." Visvarupa agreed. And. silently left the assembly. lost Brihaspati. Go now to Twashta's son Visvarupa and request that noble spirit to be your preceptor and all will be well with you. Twashta sent him against the chief of the gods. The frothing of water is also attributed to this. When Brihaspati.

namely. Nahusha became the king of the gods in his stead. Indra's disappearance caused the gods and the rishis great distress. . and I become friends? Forgive me. This story shows that. 53. You are both equal in strength and valor. then." The rishis said in reply: "Do not entertain such doubts. Nahusha started well. But they insisted." "So be it. But to Indra himself. neither with dry weapons nor with wet ones." he humbly objected. saying: "Do not hesitate. all the time. They went to Vritra and said to him: "Please make friends with Indra. it became a deadly weapon and the mighty Vritra lay dead. use it against me and I shall attain blessedness through Hari. said to Indra: "Meanest of the mean. there was a revolution leading to Indra's dethronement and Nahusha's installation as king in his stead. For a people without a king or a council of state to govern them cannot prosper. There cannot be friendship between rivals for supremacy. that neither by day nor by night. But Indra was not dead. I shall cease fighting. why do you not use the unfailing Vajrayudha? Hallowed by Hari. The battle had raged for a long while when Vritra praising the Lord Vishnu. So they went to the good and mighty king Nahusha and offered him the crown. Indra only feigned friendship for Vritra but was. Be anointed our king. Hostilities ceased. Two good souls can be friends and their friendship is often after hostility. Thereafter. The power and the energy of everyone you set your eyes on shall be transferred to you and you will be invincible. assisted by the merit and the fame earned by him while he was a king on earth." Indra maimed Vritra by chopping off his right arm but. The story of Nahusha's fall is also instructive." Vritra yielded saying: "Well. But I have no faith in Indra. he fell on evil days. And directing his thunderbolt at the water hurled it so that the surf flew and hit Vritra. Revolution is no new thing. he agreed. He might take me unawares. All the merit and potency of our penance will be yours and be an addition to your strength. But soon Vritra's fears were confirmed. "Forgive me. I cannot be your king." And they returned in good heart. nor with arrows shall Indra be able to take my life. great was the consternation of the gods. So I seek this boon of you. One evening. When Indra disappeared into the mouth of Vritra. NAHUSHA THE sin of the unrighteous slaughter of Vritra pulled Indra down from his high estate and made him a fugitive. Vishnu having entered the foam. the latter hurled with his left band. neither with stone nor with wood. undaunted. waiting for a suitable opportunity to slay him. Who am I to aspire to the seat of Indra? How can I protect you? It is impossible.enter Indra's Vajrayudha and he will win the battle in the end. The long battle thus ended and the afflicted world heaved a sigh of relief. the end of the war brought only ignominy because his victory was secured through sin and deceit and is went into hiding for sheer shame. Two great powers cannot coexist as you know." said the rishis and the gods. his iron mace at his assailant who thereupon cut down his other arm also." Vritra respectfully answered: "O blameless ones. nor with metals. how can Indra. He ripped Vritra's belly open and issuing forth went to the nearby beach. he met Vritra on the beach and began to attack him in the twilight." Thus over-powered. even in the world of the gods.

I am the lord of the three regions. Be not afraid. "Fear not " he said. In fear and distress. do protect me. Possessed by evil thoughts." But. Tauntingly. now set about it. Your anger will make the world sad. pride and lust having deprived him of his senses. he sent her back to Brihaspati's house. He lost his humility and became filled with lawless desires. I sought refuge in you. the chaste Sachidevi shook with shame and fear and cried out: "My God! I cannot do it.The assumption of the kingship of the gods filled him with arrogance." Brihaspati offered her protection." He indicated a way of escape from her difficult situation by hinting that she should pray for time. do not tremble. sprout. They all went to Brihaspati and related to him what Nahusha had said and pleaded that Sachidevi should submit to Nahusha’s desires." Hearing the wicked man's words. Stay here with me. As soon as Nahusha saw her. she went to Brihaspati and cried out: "Preceptor. Sachidevi is another's wife." Nahusha said: "What you say is right. be not angry. the virtuous Indrani. I do not find him. the infatuated Nahusha would not listen to them. that he sows. I will not give you up. who betrays one who has sought refuge." ordered Nahusha." Brihaspati consoled her and said: "He. Go and search for him and be sure to return. the wife of the king of the gods. Soon regaining composure she replied: "King of the gods. where is he? If. Is Indra alive or is he dead? If he is alive. "Indra will soon be back. after making enquiries and searching for him. will meet with destruction. come to me? Am I not the king of the gods now? Send her to my house soon. trembled for a moment. The affrighted gods decided to talk the matter over with Brihaspati and somehow contrive to bring Sachidevi to Nahusha. he was beside himself with joy and said: "O fair one. Oh brahmana. The king's displeasure frightened the gods. So." When Nahusha learnt that Sachidevi did not agree to fall in with his wishes and that she sought and obtained shelter under Brihaspati's roof. he became exceedingly angry. he said to them: "When Indra lusted for Ahalya. Remember the plighted word. Indra's wife. I have a request to make. do not covet her. and the shrewd Sachidevi took the hint and bravely went to Nahusha's palace. Indra's wife was indignant. They protested: "King of the gods. . One day. Nahusha indulged freely in the pleasures of heaven and gave him up to untamed and lecherous thoughts. Nahusha's end is approaching. before I become yours. then no sin will attach to me and I could become your wife with a clear conscience. he saw Indra's wife and became enamored of her. Do not swerve from the path of righteousness. he spoke in tones of command to the assembled gods: "Why has not Sachidevi." Saying this. where were your principles of righteousness and good conduct? Why did you not prevent him then and why do you stop me now? What did you do when he so shamelessly murdered Visvarupa when the latter was in penance and where was your virtuous horror when he killed Vritra through deceit? Sachidevi's only course is to come and live with me and it will be for your good to get her reconciled to my proposal and leave her in my charge. There can be no sin in your becoming my wife. save me from this wicked person." When she learnt this. The very earth will not let the seed. At which. You will regain your husband.

At this sacrilege. She acquainted him with her troubles. by h grace. Are you not the lord of the world? It is my wish that you should come majestically to my house in a grander style than the great Vishnu or Rudra or the asuras. They said: "Lord. one of the bearers. "Go to him by yourself and tell him that you consent to his proposal. Those. Let the palanquin be borne by the seven rishis." (Sarpa means to move and also a serpent. "What a grand idea! Your imagination is wonderful. But worse was to come as the palanquin was carried along. Then Nahusha will be destroyed.The gods went to the great Vishnu and complained to him of Nahusha. I shall do exactly as you have wished. It is but proper that the great rishis should carry me. So he began goading the rishi-bearers of his palanquin to go faster. and became a python in the jungle and had to wait for several thousand years for his deliverance. and sent her back home." "Yes. the sin of it." Sachidevi went and pretended to agree to Nahusha's proposal as Indra had asked her to do. Your trials will soon be over and you will . Sachidevi could not contain herself for sorrow at her husband's plight and burst into tears. he has hidden himself. your brothers and Draupadi have gone through untold sufferings like Indra and his wife. and. I shall then be glad and receive you and bid you welcome. and ashamed and afraid to show himself in his unclean state. saying "sarpa. Nahusha fell into the trap. sarpa. And he went so far in his mad wickedness as to kick Agastya. He became the king of the gods and Sachidevi's grief ended." Narayana said in reply: "Let him worship me." she said. the foolish Nahusha burst out: "Blessed one. I am your slave and ready to do you’re every bidding. "Nahusha's end is drawing near. their uncle Salya tried to comfort them. Indra spoke words of courage to her. I want you to do something. which I very much desire.) The insanity of lust and arrogance had reached its culmination. the three worlds were aghast and trembled. Inflamed with thoughts of the beautiful Sachidevi waiting for him. Nahusha's cup of iniquity was full. whom prosperity makes arrogant. The infatuated Nahusha called the rishis and bade them carry him on their shoulders." Sachidevi prayed to the goddess of chastity. do thou fall from heaven and become a sarpa on earth. Pray indicate a way of deliverance for him." he said. He will be cleansed of sin and the evil-minded Nahusha will meet with destruction." cursed the rishi in his wrath. Overjoyed that she had returned to him in this complaisant mood."said he. Relating this story of the sufferings of Indra and his wife to Yudhishthira and Draupadi at Upaplavya. who am blessed with the powers of absorbing the energy of those on whom my eyes fall. Immediately Nahusha fell headlong. Indra was restored to his state. down from heaven. Ask him to come to your residence in a palanquin carried by ascetics. It pleases me exceedingly. I have come back. "Meanest of the mean. Nahusha was impatient to reach her soon. reached where er Indra was in hiding. You. Indra had reduced himself to the size of an atom and hid himself in a fibre of the stem of a lotus plant growing in Manasarovara. You will be my husband. meet with destruction. You have been true to your word. He was doing penance in that state waiting for better days. it was your might that killed Vritra but Indra bears. "Victory awaits the patient.

Let me tell you clearly that nothing can be got out of Duryodhana by threats. as now. because they fully know that war never brings any good but only destruction.870 chariots. Yudhishthira wants anything. From there. he must beg for it as a gift! He arrogantly prefers this absurd claim in fond reliance on the strength of his allies. now. they sent emissaries to all friendly rulers. They are unwilling to resort to war. If we do not do as this messenger tells us. There can be no justification for this. He said to the messenger: "Having in mind the good of the world and considering the Pandava's welfare. the messenger addressed the assembled gathering on behalf of the Pandavas: "Law is eternal and of inherent validity. Although they have obtained the support of many princes and are strong enough for battle. "the Pandavas are safe and well. SANJAYA'S MISSION THE Pandavas were camping at Upaplavya in Virata's territory. To restore to them their property is the only right thing to do. the wise and brave Bhishma spoke. has been broken. In those days. corresponded to the " tanks" of modern times. 54. As the plighted word. therefore. exclaimed: "O brahmana. The Kauravas did likewise and collected an army of eleven divisions. Dhritarashtra's sons have taken possession of the whole kingdom. Dhritarashtra and Pandu are both Vichitravirya's sons and are. they must once again go back to the forest for another twelve years and return thereafter. particularly Matsya and Panchala." Bhishma had not finished when Karna angrily broke in and. turning to the messenger. Chariots were the "armored cars" of ancient warfare and elephants. They still seek peace." said Salya. war will be upon us in which we are certain to be defeated. Render unto them. Drupada's brahmana messenger reached Dhritarashtra's court. according to our usages. equally entitled to their father's property. you speak foolishly." After this appeal of the messenger. This would be in accordance both with justice and with the agreement previously reached.regain your kingdom. I have ." The disorder and excitement in the assembly made Dhritarashtra intervene. an equal number of elephants. Contingents arrived from all parts of the country and soon. They are prepared to forget the sufferings they have undergone and to let bygones be bygones. And Duryodhana and all of us are doomed to destruction. thrice as many horses and five times as many foot soldiers." he said. the Pandavas desire peace. The evil-minded Karna and Duryodhana will be destroyed even as Nahusha was. they are not bent on war." Bhishma interposed: "Son of Radha. is there anything new in what you have said? What tortures it to tell the same old story? How can Yudhishthira claim the property that he lost at the game board? If. the Pandavas had a mighty force of seven divisions. that the Pandavas should live undiscovered during the thirteenth year. Scions of the Kuru dynasty. Then. "By the grace of God. while Pandu's sons are without their share of the common inheritance. a division was made up of all arms grouped together in accordance with established military practice. the things that are due to them. and they were provided with weapons of all kinds and other war equipment. You know this and I need not point it out to you. After the usual ceremonial introduction and enquiries were over. In spite of this. a division consisted of 21. Let there be no delay. specially trained for war.

Dhritarashtra's sons have been saved. Let us eschew the great evil of war. Disregarding their father's advice and their grandsire's wise words. nothing would make me and the Pandavas happier. we will wipe out all memories of the sufferings we have undergone. the Kauravas will have been rescued from the jaws of death. I shall do as Vasudeva orders. too. Give the grandsire my love and . go to the sons of Pandu and convey to them my affectionate regards and my kind inquiries about Krishna. The sight gladdens my heart. go back to the Kaurava." When Dharmaputra heard Sanjaya say this. Sanjaya thus addressed Yudhishthira in the midst of his court: "Dharmaputra. Surrounded by princes. the Pandavas get back what is due to them. Go there on my behalf and speak conciliatingly so as to secure the avoidance of war. I desire also that Dhritarashtra and his sons should be happy. If I succeed in doing so. should not deny us our share now and drive us to make a beggar's living on the charity of others. you should not abandon the supreme path of dharma. Let there be no antagonism. I think I can settle this issue by myself going to Hastinapura. between us." Sanjaya went to Yudhishthira on this mission of peace. we have all escaped a great tragedy. The son of Ambika (Dhritarashtra) detests all talk of war. what you say is true. Even if one were to gain the whole earth bounded by the ocean. But you should not lose patience. but are we committing wrong? Krishna knows the intricacies of rectitude and dharma. desire only peace and hate war. they will still serve Dhritarashtra loyally." Sanjaya spoke again: "Dhritarashtra's sons are perverse." Then Dhritarashtra called Sanjaya aside and instructed him thus: "Sanjaya. I shall also have achieved something good and worthwhile. This is a difficult matter. After the introductory salutations. therefore. they are still as wicked as ever. But they are also prepared for war if need be. He wishes both sides well. But that is no reason why you should swerve from rectitude or lose patience. through a peaceful settlement.' Thus should you request Dhritarashtra on my behalf. there is enough room in the world for both of us and the Kauravas. Yudhishthira. Give all the princes assembled there my regards. peace and war. Please return at once and tell Yudhishthira this. King Dhritarashtra sends you his best wishes and desires to know that you are well and happy. Duryodhana and his brothers are fools. you stand ever for right conduct. it is my good fortune to be able to see you again with my eyes. He desires your friendship and yearns for peace. If our kingdom is returned to us. Dear uncle. Even if. he felt glad and answered: "If so. Of these two alternatives. Can happiness be gained with possessions obtained through war? What good can we reap from a kingdom won after killing our own relatives? Do not therefore commence hostilities. They desire nothing else. old age and death are inescapable. nay. I." And Yudhishthira said to Sanjaya: "Sanjaya. you present the picture of Indra himself. who made me a king once." Krishna said: "I desire the welfare of the Pandavas. court and tell the son of Ambika this from me: 'Was it not through your generosity that we obtained a share of the kingdom when we were young? You. Dhritarashtra can choose what he pleases. Even if they do not give back your kingdom. Rectitude is the best of possessions.decided to send Sanjaya to them. Satyaki and Virata." Yudhishthira answered: "Sanjaya. If I could obtain peace from the Kauravas on terms that do not conflict with the welfare of all.

arrows keep peeping out impatiently. "My son. where did the invincible Karna bide himself? Was it not Arjuna who drove back the Gandharvas?" Thus did Bhisma taunt Karna and warn the Kauravas. Yudhishthira knows it too. Give us back. Sanjaya. Make no mistake about it. The next morning Sanjaya returned to Hastinapura. Not even Indra and the gods can defeat us. For the five of us give at least five villages and make peace with us. But what can I do? These fools would go their own way. Treat the Pandavas and your own sons with equal affection. He sent for Vidura and spent the whole night talking to him. Duryodhana should know what Arjuna said: 'Krishna and I are going to destroy Duryodhana and his followers. Convey the same message to Vidura also. who boasts repeatedly that he will slay the Pandavas". the right course is also the wise one. "To give the Pandavas their share of the kingdom is the safest plan. demanding when? When? Sanjaya. It is enough if we govern that . In this case." said Vidura. giving up all hope of kingdom. Say thus to Duryodhana. who were princes of the realm. That we shall win is certain. We are five." said Sanjaya. When Arjuna beat back your son's attack on Virata's capital and humbled his pride. filled with anxiety. Sanjaya took leave of Kesava and the Pandavas." Duryodhana." said Dhritarashtra. could not get a wink of sleep that night. that it is best to seek peace. Vidura is the person who can best see what is good for all of us and advise accordingly. stood up. and I know. however loudly I protest. "Be satisfied with half the kingdom. Bhishma counselled Dhritarashtra against opposing the combined might of Arjuna and Krishna. said Bhishma. evil stars make the foolish Duryodhana seek war with Krishna and myself. "Only this can bring good to both sides. NOT A NEEDLE-POINT OF TERRITORY AFTER he had despatched Sanjaya to the Pandavas. "Father. who had been listening to all this." said Dhritarashtra. My bowstring is throbbing even without my stretching it and from my quiver. root and branch. Do not covet what belongs to others. "All wise men say. I am prepared and ready for peace as well as for war. "Karna. let us not have war. for. Your sons are heading for destruction. 55. Dhritarashtra. at least now. "is not equal to a sixteenth part of the Pandavas. what was Karna able to do? When the Gandharvas took your son prisoner. "What grandfather Bhisma says is the only proper thing to do. We bore all this patiently. listening to his words. clad in skins. And gave a full account of what had taken place in Yudhishthira's court. you made us. he only begs now for five villages. We know how strong we are. You insulted and harassed our weeping wife in the assembly of princes. Explain matters t Duryodhana and tell him on my o behalf: 'My dear brother. what is lawfully ours. live in the forest. The Gandiva bow is impatient for war. do not worry and tremble about our safety. "Chiefly. and went back to Hastinapura. Is it not clear from this that he is already scared about our eleven divisions? What can the Pandavas oppose to our eleven divisions? Why then do you doubt our victory?" Duryodhana said to his father and tried to cheer him up. We shall be content." After Yudhishthira had said these words.regards and ask him to devise some way of ensuring that his grandchildren live happily in amity.' Thus spoke Dhananjaya." Vidura counselled Dhritarashtra in this manner at great length.

"Let not the race be destroyed.half well." Thus saying. I shall go to Dhritarashtra's court and try to secure your rights without war. But Draupadi could not forget her humiliation." Krishna said in reply: "For the good of you both. The signs are ominous and portend war. 56. I will reduce them to ashes. even if our just rights were denied. Let us now relate what the Pandavas were saying among themselves. The poet Vyasa makes Bhima speak thus in order to show that truly great warriors desire peace. We cannot let you jeopardise your safety. Even the mighty Bhima. Yudhishthira said to Krishna: "Vasudeva. but little for you. Have no fears for my safety. He then struck a middle line and spoke desiring peace. I made my offer that we would be content with only five villages. How can we tolerate this height of intransigence? Only you can advise us in this crisis. But it soon became clear that my joy was unfounded. I know how wicked Duryodhana is. and that to seek peace is not a sign of fear. Your mind ever clings to righteousness and theirs is always steeped in hatred. if the Kauravas offer me. After Sanjaya left Upaplavya for Hastinapura. Still duty demands that we should make the attempt for peace. Sanjaya is Dhritarashtra's alter ego. Holding her locks in her hand she stood before Krishna. KRISHNA'S MISSION SATYAKI accompanied Govinda (Krishna) to Hastinapura. it will be for the good of the world. Before setting out on his journey. I do not like your going among those unscrupulous men. and in a voice ." said he. You know our hearts as well as theirs. for. But the words with which he ended his message seemed to commend meekness to us. From his speech. supported a peaceful settlement. We must omit nothing. rather surprisingly. the court broke up. In the excitement that prevailed. jealousy and enmity. pray do not go. If my mission succeeds." Duryodhana could stand it no longer." Said Yudhishthira: "You are all-knowing. a settlement reached without war even though it may have. "The Pandavas will not receive even a needle-point of territory. I was glad at first when I heard Sanjaya speak. The wicked Kauravas will refuse even this. for the Kauravas will stop at nothing. Dhritarashtra is trying to secure peace without giving us any territory. which I know is dear to you." Krishna answered: "Dharmaputra. Peace is very much to be preferred. I have decided to go to Hastinapura. there is none better than you. What is the good of your going to the enemies' place now? The perverse Duryodhana will stick to his folly. any threat of bodily harm. But still we should make all attempts at a peaceful solution so as to give the world no cause to accuse us of not having done everything possible to avert war. no matter how slender our hopes of success. Krishna had a lone discussion with the Pandavas. There is none but you who knows what our duty is now and can guide us in dharma as well as in statesmanship." Krishna said: "Yes. Dhritarashtra has not been playing fair with us. In expounding matters and in the art of persuasion. In my simplicity. The crisis is approaching. Krishna took leave of the Pandavas and set off in his chariot to Hastinapura. a messenger of peace. There are none but you to protect us. I have divined what is in Dhritarashtra's mind." he exclaimed." Yudhishthira said: "Krishna. and left the court. I know you both. I will do all I can to secure the result.

You will live to see us victorious and the insult to you will be fully avenged. Presents of other kinds should also be got ready. Dhritarashtra issued instructions that Duhsasana's palace." said Krishna. she wept. Give him that for which he is coming to the land of the Kurus. Kuntidevi met him there. Even if Arjuna and Bhima are against war. I can restrain myself no longer. apprehended that they would plot. these thirteen years. There can be no peace with honor. against Krishna's life. Krishna was moved and said: "Weep not. remembering the great outrage. were under a moral obligation not to abandon him. but only in order that the world might not hold me to blame. You may give a feast when my work here is completed. Krishna comforted her and. He went first to Dhritarashtra's palace and then proceeded to Vidura's house. Govinda went to the court along with Vidura. Vidura and Krishna took counsel together. You cannot satisfy Madhava with other gifts. look at these tresses of mine and do what honor requires to be done. he knew. stood by him. along the route which Krishna's chariot was to take. Does he not come here seeking a peaceful settlement? Make that possible. . my father. Dhritarashtra's sons will not listen to my words of peace. Vidura told him that Duryodhana's arrogance was based on his confidence that no one could defeat him as long as Bhishma and Drona." When Govinda reached Hastinapura. soon. Duryodhana gave Govinda welcome and invited him to dinner. will fight the Kauravas." Draupadi was satisfied. the citizens had thronged in such numbers in the decorated streets that his chariot could only progress very slowly. she said: "Madhusudana. who knew Duryodhana and his brothers.quivering with grief. Madhava (Krishna) halted for the night near the city of Kucasthala. should be got ready and placed at the disposal of Krishna and his entourage and large tents were erected at several places outside the city. my children. Even if my father can keep out. Duryodhana and Sakuni came to Krishna and informed him that Dhritarashtra was waiting for him. suppressed the burning flame of anger within me. through fraud and deceit. They are going to fall and their bodies will be food for wild dogs and jackals. When news of Krishna's forthcoming visit came. Have no fear for my life. The next morning. supported by my children. for the sake of Dharmaputra. who. at their head. Vidura said that it would be a mistake for Govinda even to enter the wicked man's court." And she sobbed. and that too. he returned to Vidura's house where he rested." Declining Duryodhana's invitation. All. with Subhadra's son Abhimanyu. but Krishna said with a smile: "Emissaries eat only after their mission is fulfilled. being bigger and more beautiful than Duryodhana's. I have. made for Duryodhana's palace. Dhritarashtra consulted Vidura. He said to him: "Make arrangements for presenting Govinda with chariots and elephants. taking leave of her. Dhritarashtra issued orders for decorating the city and arrangements for receiving Janardana (Krishna) were in full swing. old though he is. Thinking of the sufferings of her sons and overpowered by grief." But Vidura said: "Govinda cannot be bought with presents. "What you say about Duryodhana is true. I have not come here with any hope that I would be able to secure a peaceful settlement. the city was in great excitement. will go to battle.

Duhsasana seeing that Bhishma and others were accepting Krishna's indictment of Duryodhana said: "Brother. He rose. How am I responsible for it? Losing the game." Bhishma and Drona also pressed Duryodhana to listen to Govinda. justly forfeited it. I entreat you to advise Duryodhana. Govinda rose from his seat and. You regard as bad what is good for you and as good what is bad. the elders did us grievous wrong by giving the Pandavas. it seems that these people have a plot to bind you with ropes and hand you over to the Pandavas. the Yadavas and Vrishnis live . When I was young." and reminded him of the other iniquities he had perpetrated against the Pandavas. that great assemblage of kings stood up. He made clear what the Pandavas wanted. Dhritarashtra said: "My friends know that I am not to blame. I desire precisely what Madhava has stated but I am powerless. Treat them also as your sons and devise an honorable solution. Govinda laughed and said: "The play was fraudulently arranged by you in conspiracy with Sakuni and you afterwards insulted Draupadi in an assembly of princes. not even a needle-point of it!" When Duryodhana said that he had not committed wrong. The Pandavas. Krishna. "Dhritarashtra. this famous line is in danger of being destroyed. you wrong me out of love for the Pandavas. Duryodhana was furious with everyone for pressing him in this matter to agree to a peaceful solution. Your present thoughts are unworthy and befit only men of low birth. I acquiesced then but they lost it at play. accompanied by his brothers. I am utterly blameless. Krishna took his seat. My wicked sons do not listen to me. It is your duty to restrain your sons." said Krishna. and the world will acclaim you. the Pandavas themselves will install Dhritarashtra as king and you as the heir apparent. They wish to live in happiness under you. of their own volition. On account of you. our race will perish.As Vasudeva came into the court. But Duryodhana's heart could not be softened. they went to the forests as in honor bound. and said: "Madhusudana. "I pity Dhritarashtra and Gandhari whom Duryodhana is dooming to bereavement and desolation by his misdeeds." and Duryodhana. Make peace with them by giving them half the kingdom. staked their kingdom at play and. Saluting the elders with folded hands and with a word or a smile for the others. I do not know why. The Pandavas are prepared for war but they desire peace. The others here also blame me. you have the impudence to say that you have committed no wrong." said Vidura. For what fault of mine do they now s battle and wish eek to slay us? I will not yield to threats. Dhritarashtra once again said to his son: "If you do not listen to Govinda's advice. Govinda addressed the court again and said: "Sires." Krishna turned to Duryodhana and said: "You are the descendant of a noble ine. l Pursue the path of dharma. but I do not think I am one whit to blame in this matter. do not bring ruin to your people. I refuse to return it to them." Drona and Bhishma also tried repeatedly to persuade Duryodhana and turn him from error. The introductions over. walked out of the court. Let us get away from here. turning to Dhritarashtra explained the object of his visit. I will not give the Pandavas an inch of land. If you listen to reason and justice. And yet. a part of the kingdom to which they had not a shadow of a right. being defeated.

" said Dhritarashtra. now that Kamsa and Sisupala are dead. I ask that I should be blind again. Govinda. These three are the only people in the Kaurava army capable of fighting the Pandavas with any hope of slaying them. He went straight to Kunti. The blind Dhritarashtra. Drona and Karna? They are warriors who have never yet met defeat. When I think of them. And Krishna rose and. He told her what had happened and she asked him to convey her blessings to her sons. with Satyaki and Vidura on either side of him. 'Bear the insults." Gandhari was sent for and. May you protect my sons!" A kshatriya mother brings forth children to be sacrificed in war.happily. I do not worry about the others. Bhishma. That is the only way. 57. on knowing which. Kunti was overwhelmed with grief when she learnt that it was to be war to the death." Dhritarashtra said to Vidura: "Bring farsighted Gandhari here. laughed and disclosed his divinity. He is anxious to please Duryodhana by killing my sons. Duryodhana. Now is the time for me. Duryodhana said 'No' and again walked out of the hall. The grandsire will certainly not want to kill them. It is possible that Duryodhana might listen to her. Does it not happen occasionally that a village is abandoned in order that the country may be saved? I am afraid you will have to sacrifice Duryodhana if you want to save your race. who had anticipated all this. my mind trembles. He and his friends had plotted to seize Krishna. Duryodhana is obstinate. his eyes red with anger. Purushottamat (Krishna as Supreme Being) got into his chariot and sped towards Upaplavya. "How can my sons defeat the mighty three combined. temporarily regained his sight and was able to see Krishna in his Visvarupa presence in every form. left the court. "How can I" reflected Kunti. returned and Gandhari tried by all the means in her power to bring him round to reason. . it is some times necessary to sacrifice an individual. by the grace of Krishna. I do not wish to see anything else. War became a certainty. "The time has come. ATTACHMENT AND DUTY ANY ray of hope there might have been of a peaceful settlement when Krishna went to Hastinapura was extinguished when he returned and narrated what happened. As I think of him engaged in battle against my other sons. Duryodhana was sent for. and he became blind again. "Pundarikaksha. "for that for which a kshatriya woman brings forth sons." she thought. News of this reached the court. Let us not ask for any territory and let us avoid war'? How can my sons accept what is contrary to kshatriya tradition?" "At the same time. Karna is a great man-at-arms. Of these. my heart is consumed with agony like a faggot in the fire. "All our efforts have failed. In order to save a whole people. to seek Karna out and tell him the truth about his birth." said Dhritarashtra to Govinda. (lotus-eyed Krishna) having seen your Visvarupa. "what can be gained by mutual killings in the war and what happiness attained after the destruction of the race? How shall I face this dilemma?" Thus was she tormented by the prospect of wholesale destruction on the one hand and the claims of kshatriya honor on the other. But Karna is the Pandavas' chief enemy. "give my thoughts tongue and say to my sons." said she. when she came to the court. Dronacharya might refrain from killing my children from either love or unwillingness to meet one's own disciples in battle.

And now. Your fame will reach far and wide. His prayers over. Surrounded by your five brothers. I have myself urged them into this war. I am at your service. to be untrue to my salt and go over to the Pandavas. your effulgence will be like that of Brahma among the gods. Kunti went to the banks of the Ganga where Karna usually offered his daily prayers. This is the highest dharma according to our scriptures. nor is the charioteer your father. Karna was there at his devotions. Do not think t at you are a man of h the chariot-driver's caste. won their confidence as their champion and enjoyed all the consideration and kindness they showed me. or beyond it. will not the world proclaim that I have done so out of fear? I have eaten the salt of Dhritarashtra's sons. a helpless babe. And now you want me." Tormented by these anxious thoughts about her children. With an effort of the will. Karna felt a sign in his heart that the Sun god endorsed Kunti's request. thinking of your other children's good. "Karna. May good fortune attend you"! She then narrated the story of his birth. does not befit you. dear mother. one must do what gives satisfaction to loving parents. have joined Duryodhana and have come to hate them. You deprived me of all that was my birthright as a kshatriya when you threw me." said Kunti. If I now join the Pandavas. That Pandu's queen and the mother of the Pandava princes should be there. I must discharge . you talk to me of my duties as a kshatriya." When his mother spoke thus to him at the end of his devotions to the sun. like that of the brothers Balarama and Krishna. If I swerve from the path of duty. otherwise known as Kunti. according to the established forms of respectful address. But he checked himself and took it to mean that the Sun god was testing his loyalty and strength of mind. filled him with great confusion and amazement. To live in dependence on Dhritarashtra's sons. I shall have done myself much more hurt than any that an enemy might inflict on me in the battlefield. Facing east and with uplifted hands he was in deep meditations. which blesses all life. You denied me the motherly love. he controlled alike the temptations of self-interest and the prompting of natural affection. "The son of Radha and the chariot-driver Adhiratha bows to you. He should not be found wanting. into the river. What can I do for you.he is bound to abandon Duryodhana's cause. May you and Arjuna put down the wicked! The whole world will be at your feet. waiting patiently for him to finish his prayers. And now. Join Arjuna and be one of the kings of the realm. O queen?" asked Karna." said Kuntidevi. you tell me this story. In perplexing situations. He said sadly but firmly: "What you have said. "you are not Radha's son. would be worth a price like that? Mother dear. is contrary to dharma. Karna was in meditation and was unmindful of everything until he felt the hot rays of the sun on his back. Karna looked back to find Kunti standing behind him and holding the hem of his upper garment over her head to shield it from the burning sun. You are Surya's son born out of the womb of Pritha of royal blood. when the battle is about to be joined. Kunti quietly stood behind him and waited. "You who were born with full armor and golden earrings. "not knowing that the Pandavas are your brothers. which will enable them to cross the deluge of war. The sons of Dhritarashtra look on me as the ark. How can I now desert them? Could there be blacker treachery and baser ingratitude? What in life.

They then considered who should be appointed Generalissimo. Yudhishthira said: "We should select one of these seven to be Supreme Commander." "There is no longer any hope of peace. courage. She embraced him and departed in silence. with life. When Kunti heard her first-born speak thus firmly. Chekitana and Bhimasena at the head of each division. 58. He should lead our army against Drona and Bhishma. Sikhandin. Please forgive me. "I cannot have my mother plead completely in vain. "Drupada. They formed the army in seven divisions and appointed Drupada. you will still have five"." "But yet. We must now prepare for war without delay. He is much respected by all kings. Either I or Arjuna will survive this war. "Let us take as our Supreme Commander the king of Virata who helped us when we lived in disguise and with whose support we now demand our share of the kingdom. I cannot deceive you. and issued orders for marshalling their forces in." said Nakula. that is. But. and is supporting us. before consulting elders. Dhrishtadyumna. whatever they may do unto me. "I spoke urging what was right and what was also good for them." and she returned home. the father of Draupadi. This instilled enthusiasm and self-confidence in the younger folk. otherwise. it was the practice to ascertain the views of younger people first. "It seems to me best to make Drupada the Generalissimo. and has for long been waiting for an encounter with Drona. addressing his brothers. battle array. I shall be no better than a common thief purloining my food all these years. Part with Arjuna to me. and even honest differences of opinion might savor of disrespect. offered not to harm four of my sons. "He has. Virata." replied Sahadeva. He should be one capable of successfully facing the great Bhishma. And with the other four sons. at least." continued he. adhering to the kshatriya code. he is supreme. Kurukshetra is waiting for the holocaust. it was all in vain. who can burn enemies to ashes. has learnt archery from Bharadwaja. without trusting herself to speak. The hero who has his senses under control and who has been born to bring about Drona's . I shall surely use all my followers against your sons in this coming war. it would not be possible for others to speak with freedom. "Who can go against what has been ordained?" she thought. you will still have five sons. wisdom. The foolish Duryodhana would not listen to the advice tendered to him by the elders in the assembly.my debt. That is enough. Who do you think is most fitted for this responsibility?" In the olden days. "I think. He should be one who knows how to dispose his forces as circumstances require from time to time. the last alternative of war. aye. birth and strength." Dharmaputra then asked Dhananjaya for his opinion. THE PANDAVA GENERALISSIMO GOVINDA reached Upaplavya and told the Pandavas what had happened in Hastinapura. May God bless him. Dhrishtadyumna should be our chief in the battlefield. I will not kill your other sons. if necessary. for. Addressing Sahadeva. as if we were his own sons. Either he or myself must die in this war. in point of age. If the elders were consulted first." said Yudhishthira. Mother of warrior sons. her heart was full of tumultuous and contrary feelings and. Satyaki. There is now no way out except the fourth.

BALARAMA BALARAMA. The dishonest ones of the earth have no . therefore. Krishna's brother left the place. As Halayudha (plough bearer). "Any one of them would fill the Kauravas with fear. The earth is going to is a bloody morass strewn with mangled bodies! It is an evil destiny that has maddened the kshatriya world to foregather here to meet its doom. this conflagration that will consume everything. his heart laden with sorrow and his mind seeking consolation in God. who for thirteen long years was brooding over the insult that his sister had to suffer in Duryodhana's court. The lion-roar of warriors. the Pandava army entered Kurukshetra in martial array.end." replied Arjuna. as your Supreme Commander. but the rishis and elders have said that Sikhandin has come into the world to kill Bhishma. I do not think any one else can defeat Bhishma. My inclination would be to give the command to Sikhandin whose radiant face is like that of Parasurama. the unhappy individual is caught on the horns of a dilemma. was anointed Supreme Commander of the Pandava army. He is the only man fitted to be our commander. each one of them. Krishna and others gave the broadshouldered warrior a glad welcome. both of them my pupils." said Krishna." Overcome by emotion. visited the Pandavas. and who was waiting for an opportunity to avenge the wrong. the blowing of conchs and shells and the trumpeting of elephants rent the air. Dhrishtadyumna alone can withstand the arrows of Bhishma whose skill in archery made even the great Parasurama hold back. I can think of no one else. We may not take sides in their foolish quarrels. the illustrious brother of Krishna. who led Draupadi at the swayamvara and gave her away to Arjuna. the visitor seated himself beside Dharmaputra. How can Krishna and I be in opposite camps? For Bhima and Duryodhana. "learning that the descendants of Bharata have let themselves be overwhelmed by greed. but contrary." said he. I would endorse Arjuna's choice." Accordingly. Yudhishthira. I will therefore have nothing to do with this war. It is only honest men that find themselves in this predicament. This tragedy has made me lose all interest in the world and so I shall wander among holy places. Often have I told Krishna. 59. How then can I support one against the other? Nor can I bear to see the Kauravas destroyed. dreadful destruction is ahead. 'Duryodhana is the same to us as the Pandavas. This episode of Balarama’s. clad in blue silk. worthy of selection. Bhimasena said: "O king. With warlike cheers which made the sky ring. courses of action." Yudhishthira finally asked Kesava for his opinion." Having thus spoken against the calamitous war. entered majestically like a lion. Compelled to choose between two equally justifiable. "I have come to Kurukshetra. Dhrishtadyumna. anger and hatred and that the peace talks have broken down and that war has been declared.' He would not listen to me. Anoint Dhrishtadyumna. His great affection for Dhananjaya has misled Krishna and he is with you in this war which I see he has approved. he paused for a while and then continued: "Dharmaputra. Drupada's illustrious son. "The warriors mentioned are. in their encampment. keeping out of the Mahabharata war is illustrative of the perplexing situations in which good and honest men often find themselves. Bowing to Drupada and Virata. All things considered. I have equal regard and love. what Arjuna says is true.

Balarama's neutrality in the Mahabharata war has a lesson. She feared that her father would be helpless against her domineering brother and would not be able to prevent the unhappy marriage. Her relatives approved the idea. between whom and Krishna there was no love lost. had five sons and an only daughter. that is. the king of Vidarbha. Witness the great trials to which. The story of Rukma. Dasaratha. Rukma's became the dominant voice and it looked as though Rukmini would be compelled to marry Sisupala. the heir apparent. I charge you therefore to come and succour me before Sisupala carries me off by force. Having heard of Krishna and his renown. Bhishma. Yudhishthira and Karna were put. will oppose you and will have to be overcome before you can have me. Their solutions did not conform to a single moral pattern but reflected their several individualities. Vidura. was disconsolate. RUKMINI BHISHMAKA. 60. and handed to him the letter Rukmini had sent through him. in the Ramayana. I will put an end to my life so that I may at least join you in my next birth. May you be the triumphant hero and capture me! My brother has decided to marry me to Sisupala and. charm and strength of character. The conduct of each was the reaction of his personality and character to the impact of circumstances. Rukmini resolved somehow to find a way out of her predicament. The king being old. whose heart was wholly Krishna's because she was Lakshmi incarnate. Bharata and Lakshmana reacted to the difficulties with which each of them was faced. all except her eldest brother Rukma. Rukma pressed his father not to give Rukmini in marriage to the ruler of Dwaraka but to marry her instead to Sisupala. We read in that epic how they solved their several difficulties. She took counsel with a brahmana whom. That would be the best time for you to come and rescue me. the king of Chedi. Not so the great men who have renounced all desire. she sent as her emissary to Krishna. in the Mahabharata. Sisupala's forces. One was Balarama and the other was Rukma. Only two princes kept out of that war. the ruler of Bhojakata. Mustering all her strength of mind. as well as Jarasandha's. Kundinapura. The letter ran as follows: "My heart has already accepted you as lord and master. Maricha. The matter cannot brook any delay. . was most gorgeously decorated and preparations for the wedding of the princess with Sisupala were in full swing. Modern critics and expositors sometimes forget this underlying basic factor and seek to weigh all in the same scales. by self-interest. she wished to be united to him in wedlock and the desire daily grew in intensity. At the king's behest. is told in the next chapter. Rukmini. We may profit by the way in which." Krishna read this and immediately mounted his chariot. as part of the wedding ceremonies. guided as they are solely by their own attachments and desires. the capital of Vidarbha. a princess of matchless beauty. abandoning all maidenly reserve. The brahmana accordingly went toDwaraka and conveyed to Krishna Rukmini's sad plight and her entreaty. If you do not turn up. which is quite wrong.such problems. so you must be here tomorrow. I am going to the temple along with my retinue to offer worship to Parvati. charging him to explain matters to her beloved and sue for help. Rukmini. Kumbhakarna. whose younger sister Rukmini married Krishna. Likewise.

Rukmini. and went in pursuit of Krishna with a large force. It may arise from conscientious objection to war or it may be due to mere conceit and self-interest. meanwhile. Yet others may keep aloof through cowardice or sheer inertia. all sworn enemies of Krishna. ruler of Bhojakata. "Oh Devi. where divine service was held. I have come to help you. to the bewilderment of all around. he thought of personal glory. I have the strength to attack Drona. "Oh Pandavas. just as you like. Hearing of the Kurukshetra battle. Rukmini sighted Krishna's chariot and ran straight as a needle to the attracting magnet. all by himself." Said he to Duryodhana. Grant that Krishna may espouse me. and neither side would have him. over which he ruled. Leaving her apartments. praying for her intercession. Dhananjaya laughed. Kripa or even Bhishma. Give me the word and I shall attack whichever sector of the enemy formation you would like me to." At this. Only let me know your wish. he hurriedly assembled a great force and marched on to Kundinapura. "Oh. "I prostrate myself before thee who knowest my devotion." Turning to Vasudeva." said he addressing Dhananjaya. 61. Balarama and Krishna returned home in triumph. The defeated Rukma was ashamed to return to Kundinapura and built at the very site of the battle between Krishna and himself a new city. Thinking that he could thereby w the friendship of in Vasudeva. We have no need of your help and do not particularly desire it. "the enemy forces are very large. "My forces are at your disposal. Rukma was filled with anger and shame and went to Duryodhana's camp with his army. Balarama came to know of Krishna's sudden and secret departure. and related what had happened." implored Rukmini. You may either go away or stay on." swore Rukma. thus put to disgrace by both sides. abstained as a result of his conceit. Instead of acting according to dharma." Rukma. The servants ran to Rukma. She fled to him and got into his chariot." Stepping out of the temple. went in procession to the temple. the heir apparent. Balarama had arrived with his army. I shall bring you victory." said Arjuna. Neutrality in war may be of several kinds. Rukma arrived there with a huge force. "I will not return without killing Janardana. Bhojakata. Guessing that it must be about the daughter of the king of Vidarbha and anxious lest Krishna should be hemmed in alone by mortal enemies thirsting for his blood. Rukma. Balarama was neutral in the Mahabharata war because of his love of peace. accompanied by her retinue. and added: "I am not in such dire need yet as to welcome their leavings. had already assembled in the capital. and a great battle ensued between the two opposing forces in which the enemy was utterly routed. But. NON-COOPERATION . returned to his kingdom without taking part in battle.The bridegroom elect and his associates. where Rukmini's wedding with Krishna was celebrated with customary rites. "we are not afraid of the size of the enemy forces. he offered help to the Pandavas. "The Pandavas have refused my proffered assistance. And Krishna drove off with her. on the other hand." "Is it not after the Pandavas rejected your assistance that you have come here?" exclaimed Duryodhana.

Presently. The grandsire. you have been belittling my strength and running me down. His judgment is warped and he considers it a crime on the part of anyone to point out his defect. "Karna has earned your affection. His appraisement of me will injure your cause. think well and look to your own good. Duryodhana was cheered up. but prowess does.IT was the day before the commencement of the great battle. But I will not bear arms while he is in command. You have made Bhishma your Generalissimo who will. His command of supernatural weapons will fail him in his hour of need. he charges the accuser with that very fault. but he does not know it. which will cause him to be neglectful of the finer points of strategy. Besides. now the Kaurava Generalissimo. and he is too boastful. Do not place too great a reliance on the grandsire." Enraged by these harsh words. Hating me you seek to come between me and Duryodhana and poison his mind against me. Controlling his anger. there is a point when age becomes senility and ripeness falls into rottenness and decay. Bhishma spoke of the strength. it is you. You have stooped to behavior unworthy of a kshatriya. To make matters worse." said he. Age alone does not confer a title to honor and respect among warriors. Why hide your real feelings? The fact of the matter is that you have no genuine affection for Duryodhana. And in furtherance of your wicked design. I would not place him in the highest rank among the warriors of the land. "You sir. for he will not be able to remember the mantras. He is trying to sow dissension in our ranks. Desist from poisoning our relations." said Bhishma. though I gave you no reason. There is no limit to his arrogance and he is much given to disparaging others. His arrogance does not let him have regard for anyone else. as the sastras warn us. was with Duryodhana seeking to inspire him with his own heroic spirit and cheerfulness. Age must be respected and experience is useful but. he will suffer defeat." The arrogant man is never conscious of his own arrogance. He is not therefore likely to be of great help to me in this battle. I do not like his great hatred of the Pandavas. By running me down. he seeks to dampen my enthusiasm. and this was exceedingly unpalatable to Duryodhana and Karna. he has given away the divine armor with which he was born. Karna turned to the grandsire with flaming eyes. This is well illustrated in this episode. You have been the evil genius of . Bhishma replied: "Son of Surya. not I. Only after he has fallen will I do so. "but I do not think much of him. Karna said: "Illustrious warrior. "have always slighted me through mere dislike and envy and have never neglected an opportunity of humiliating me. Karna became the subject of their talk. You have said that I would not be of much help in the impending war. I bore all your taunts and thrusts for the sake of Duryodhana. And the battle that will ensue between him and Arjuna will prove fatal for Karna. When accused of it. I have no doubt. Drona agreed with the grandsire and said: "Karna is full of pride and overconfidence. The curse of Parasurama is on him too. skill and prowess of the warriors ranged on the Kauravas' side. He has become senile and his time is up." Thus spoke Bhishma without mincing matters. we are in a crisis and that is why you have not ceased to live this moment. Let me tell you my settled conviction. and through carelessness. who will fail the Kauravas. earn some fame from the heroic deeds of others." Turning then to Duryodhana.

Single combats might only be between equals and one could not use methods not in accordance with dharma. KRISHNA TEACHES ALL was ready for the battle. The joy of living with Indra and Brahma awaits you. Otherwise. These were the rules that the Kauravas and the Pandavas solemnly declared they would follow. Karna went to him and bowed reverently and asked for forgiveness and blessings.the Kauravas. Nor might one. which he received. Karna took over the command and led the Kaurava forces. when the great Bhishma lay on the battlefield covered all over with arrows. Not only are munitions made the target of attack. the story would be puzzling in places. At the break of dawn. Thereafter. the battle joins. the accepted rules of honorable and humane war were observed by both sides in the Kurukshetra battle. non-combatants of all ages. not one on foot. "You will both do deeds of great heroism. The passage of time has witnessed many changes in men's ideas of right and wrong. with the foe in full force before us!" But Karna was adamant in that he would not take up arms so long as Bhishma was in supreme command. nay." he said. the reader may have some idea of the rules of warfare followed in the Kurukshetra battle. are destroyed without compunction. "Son of Ganga. charioteers." Duryodhana was in distress. Let there be no fighting among friends. . It was wrong to slay one who had been disarmed or whose attention was directed elsewhere or who was retreating or who had lost his armor. mules and medical stores. are the gates of heaven wide open. 62. The code of conduct in war and methods of warfare vary from time to time. But. We see clearly in the story that occasional transgressions took place for one reason or another. Each day. for the moment disengaged. elephant troops and infantrymen could engage themselves in battle only with their opposite numbers in the enemy ranks. I need the help of you both. but dumb animals such as horses. yours is a glorious opportunity. Karna cooperated and himself proposed Drona for the command of the Kaurava forces in succession to Bhishma. on the whole. Karna kept out during the first ten days of the battle. The warriors on both sides gathered together and solemnly bound themselves to honor the traditional rules of war. It is only if what was in vogue at the time of the Mahabharata war is kept in mind that we can understand the epic. camels. though all his men participated in it. Addressing the princes under his command. Sometimes the established conventions went overboard even in the Mahabharata war. A horseman could attack only a horseman. At the end of the tenth day. Nothing is exempt from attack in modern warfare. Before you. Duryodhana eventually yielded to Karna and suffered him to carry out his threat. Thus those who left the field or retired would not be attacked. I have no doubt. From what follows. When Drona also fell. direct his weapons against another who was engaged in combat. Likewise. the battle was over at sunset. and the hostiles mixed freely like friends. And no shafts were to be directed against non-combatant attendants or those engaged in blowing conchs or beating drums. Bhishma said: "Heroes. And the occasional violations were looked upon as wrong and shameful. Those who sought quarter or surrendered were safe from slaughter.

Seeing the Kaurava forces ranged in battle array. But Yudhishthira was immersed in deep thought and proceeded forward silently." and the princes responded by ordering their trumpets to be sounded and shouted victory to the Kauravas. It is right that he does this. At this tense moment. when Arjuna saw men arrayed on both sides for mutual slaughter. smiled and said: "He is going to the elders to ask for their benediction before commencing this terrible fight. The Bhagavad Gita is acknowledged by all as one of the supreme treasures of human literature. the steadfast and brave son of Pandu. But you have doffed your armor and thrown aside your weapons and are proceeding forward. he was deeply agitated and Krishna spoke to him in order to quell his agitation and remove his doubts. why are you proceeding to the enemy's lines in this strange manner? You have told us nothing. On Bhishma's flag shone brightly the palm tree and five stars." The men in Duryodhana's army. Yudhishthira gave orders to Arjuna: "The enemy force is very large. when they saw Yudhishthira advancing with hands clasped in humble attitude. "King. On Aswatthama's the lion tail fluttered in the air. rich or poor. He knows proprieties. In Drona's golden-hued standard. which is enshrined in millions of hearts as the Word of God. Tell us what you are about. learned or ignorant. YUDHISHTHIRA SEEKS BENEDICTION EVERYTHING was ready for the battle to begin. has shown the way of life for all men. who have sought for light in the dark problems of life.Pursue the path of your ancestors and follow the kshatriya dharma. had suddenly decided to seek peace on any terms and was going forward to announce this. our tactics should be concentration rather than deployment that will only weaken us." Now. both armies saw with amazement Yudhishthira. suddenly doff his armor and put away his weapons. their soldiers sheathed in armor and with uplifted weapons. 63. therefore. The enemy is ready for battle. Likewise others and the battlefield thus presented a pageant of flags. The other brothers and Krishna also joined. Its gospel of devotion to duty. who knew the hearts of men." Thus said Arjuna to Dharmaputra. while Jayadratha's carried a wild boar. On Kripa's flag was depicted a bull. So he goes unarmed. Krishna's exhortation to Arjuna at this juncture is the Bhagavad Gita. Descending from his chariot. They feared that perhaps Yudhishthira. thought: . and the cobra of Duryodhana's famed banner danced proudly with outspread hood. He feels it is not right to start such a grave proceeding without formally taking such benediction and permission. Fight with joy and attain fame and greatness. "What is this that Yudhishthira is doing?" asked everyone and was puzzled by this sudden and silent proceeding on the part of the Pandava. in needle formation. Then Vasudeva. Array our forces. Our army being smaller. he proceeded on foot towards the commander of the Kaurava forces. without attachment or desire of reward. surrendering to his natural inclination. It is only thus that we might fare well in this battle. unattended and on foot. the ascetic's bowl and the bow glistened. Dhananjaya too was perplexed and he jumped down from his chariot and ran to Yudhishthira. A kshatriya does not wish to die of disease or old age in his bed but prefers to die on the battlefield. He goes to the grandsire to take his blessing and that of Dronacharya.

Yudhishthira went through the lines of soldiers armed from head to foot and proceeded straight to where Bhishma was and. I shall fight on their side. Yudhishthira went to Drona and circumambulated and bowed." Yudhishthira similarly approached and obtained the blessings of Kripacharya and uncle Salya and returned to the Pandava lines. Thus does violence beget and nourish adharma and plunge the world in wickedness. I am bound by my obligation to the king and must fight on the side of the Kauravas. Karna succeeded to the command. who also gave his blessings."Here is the Pandava coming to sue for peace. and Dbrishtadyumna and Drona were thus engaged in great battles. We seek benediction before beginning the fight. Fight and you will have victory. Chivalry and rules of war die hard. Why was this coward born among us?" Thus did they talk among themselves reviling Dharmaputra though delighted at the prospect of securing victory without a blow. there was also indiscriminate fighting among common soldiers. The name of "sankula yuddha" was given to such free fighting and promiscuous carnage. In modern battles there is no such thing as single combats. Karna fell towards the close of the seventeenth day's battle. Thus have I become bound to the Kauravas. The battle began. Our vested interests enslave us and become our masters. and dharma comes to be disregarded more and more easily and frequently. you have acted worthily and according to our code of conduct. ." replied the grandsire. O son of Dharma. commencing with single combats between the leading chiefs armed with equal weapons. Truly this man brings disgrace to the race of kshatriyas. And Salya led the Kaurava army on the eighteenth and last day. Abhimanyu and Brihatbala. But difficult situations and temptations arise which men are too weak to resist. frightened at our strength. It is all "sankula. It gives me joy to see this. Drona took the command. bending low and touching his feet in salutation. Bhishma and Partha. "born in the race of Bharatas. Even great men commit wrong and their lapses thereafter furnish bad examples to others. Besides these numerous single combats between renowned warriors. But you will not be defeated. according to form. said: "Grandsire. Yudhishthira and Salya." After thus obtaining the permission and the blessings of the grandsire. When Drona died. But yours will be the victory. Duryodhana and Bhima. saying: "I am under inescapable obligations to the Kauravas. The Kurukshetra battle witnessed many such "sankula" fights wherein countless men fought and died in the mad lust of battle. charioteers. thousands of other warriors fought severally according to the rules of war of those days. our unconquerable and incomparable grandsire. permit us to begin the battle." The Kauravas fought under Bhishma's command for ten days. On the field lay piles of slaughtered soldiers. After him. Satyaki and Kritavarma." "Child. I am not a free agent. many savage and unchivalrous deeds were done. for there is an innate nobility in human nature. We have dared to give battle to you. The ground became a bloody mire in which it was difficult for the chariots to move about. Towards the latter part of the battle. Similarly. elephants and horses. to the acharya. especially when they are exhausted with fighting and warped with hatred and bloodshed.

It continued charging until Salya cut off its trunk and hit it in many places with his arrows. Great was the grandsire's joy. Abhimanyu's feats brought down showers of flowers from the gods who looked on. rode an elephant and led a fierce charge on Salya. it was like the dance of the destroyer. horns and conchs made the sky ring with their clamor. But he stood against them all. Bhimasena was overjoyed and made a great lion-roar that further inspired the valiant nephew. seeing the valor of the young hero. One of his well-aimed arrows brought the grandsire's palm tree flag down. Another broke Kripa's bow. Thousands of soldiers perished. Dhrishtadyumna. Bhishma himself was hit nine times by Abhimanyu's shafts. Wherever Bhishma's chariot went. When the oldest and the youngest warriors thus met in battle. Abhimanyu could not bear this and he attacked the grandsire. displaying the golden karnikara tree brightly waved on his chariot. Unwillingly. they . Uttara. THE FIRST DAY'S BATTLE DUHSASANA was leading the Kaurava forces and Bhimasena did the same on the Pandava side. The goad he had in his hand dropped and he rolled down dead. And he drove his chariot towards Salya. he had to use his full strength against the boy. And then it uttered a loud cry and fell dead. Salya's chariot horses were trampled to death and thereupon he hurled a javelin at Uttara. The noise of battle rolled and rent the air. Virata. a worthy son to Dhananjaya!" Then the Kaurava warriors made a combined attack on the valiant youth. Virata's son Sveta saw Salya slay his younger brother. Sveta defended himself marvelously. Bhishma and the warrior supporting him exclaimed: "Indeed. Kritavarma was hit by one of his arrows and Salya was hit five times. His anger rose. Whereupon there was a great battle. It was a mad and terrible carnage. There upon. Durmukha's charioteer was struck by one of Abhimanyu's sword-edge arrow and his severed head rolled on the ground. Sveta succeeded in putting Duryodhana's men to flight and he pushed forward and attacked Bhishma. the gods came to watch the combat. charging elephants trumpeted and the warriors uttered their lion-roars. uncles and nephews slew one another forgetful of old affection and ties of blood. The warriors in both armies were amazed at the skill displayed by Sveta. Seven chariot warriors at once came up in support of Salya and protected him from all sides. But the elephant did not withdraw. Arrows were showered on Sveta and the missiles sped across like lightning in clouds. Bhishma. the son of Drupada and Bhima came to relieve the young hero and attacked the grandsire who then turned his attentions on them. It went with unerring aim and pierced him in the chest. Fathers and sons. He parried with his own all the shafts discharged by Bhishma. Horses neighed. Salya got into Kritavarma's car. He parried their shafts with his own and cut their javelins down as they sped towards him. like fire fed by libations of butter.64. Bhishma's flag was brought down by Sveta. trumpets. Seeing this. the son of Virata. his son Uttara. Abhimanyu's flag. Duryodhana lost no time now and sent forces to relieve Salya. and numerous were the chariots broken and the horses and elephants killed. in his turn. The kettledrums. Arrows flew in the air like burning meteors. killed Sveta's horses and charioteer. In the forenoon of the first day's battle the Pandava army was badly shaken.

turning to Krishna. Dharmaputra was seized with apprehension. his charioteer. "Chief among Bharatas. Arjuna. His confidence in the great Bhishma began to be shaken. His chariot flashed hither and thither sundering hostile ranks like forked lightning. devised measures to avoid a repetition of it. supporting the grandsire. having fared badly on the first day of the battle. The brothers came to Krishna and were engaged in anxious consultations. Drona and Karna. he said in a loud voice. and drove straight towards him. Fight and care not for life. "do not fear. "our victory is assured. then get ready. Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna. all the warriors." replied Krishna. Unless we slay Bhishma. The grandsire sent his shafts welcoming the challenge. I am afraid we can not save our army." "Dhananjaya. sent it at Bhishma's car which was smashed to pieces. "Heroes in armor". besides myself." Duryodhana said. Karna whose devotion and loyalty to me are most genuine stands aside and does not fight for me only because of you. There is the grandsire's chariot. I fear I shall be deceived and you will not take steps quickly to destroy Phalguna (Arjuna). Sveta was struck and fell dead. Accordingly.hurled javelins at one another and fought on. This was followed by a great attack on the Pandava army by Bhishma. Why should you entertain any doubts? There is Satyaki and there are Virata. Dhrishtadyumna. Duryodhana's heart beat fast as he watched this combat." . The way in which he wielded his great bow on this occasion. stood in the center of his army and addressed his warriors. who intervened in support of Bhishma. this irresistible combination of Arjuna and Krishna will destroy our entire army. said: "If we continue in this way. THE SECOND DAY THE Pandava army. the army was most carefully arrayed and everything was done to instil confidence. however. Duryodhana. The chariot sped forward at a great pace. so rapidly that the eye ached to follow its career. "it seems as if even while you and Drona are alive and fighting. What reason is there for you to be dejected? Do you forget that Sikhandin is awaiting for his predestined victim Bhishma?" Thus did Krishna comfort Yudhishthira." The Kaurava army. It was well known that there were but three on the Kaurava side who could stand against Arjuna with any chance of success the grandsire Bhishma. killing large numbers. Duryodhana had ordered his men to protect the grandsire most vigilantly and never to let him expose himself to danger. On the second day. The Pandava forces suffered greatly on the first day of the battle. led by Bhishma. at once intervened and attacked Arjuna who. Sveta took a mace. and swinging it. the Generalissimo. had anticipated it and jumped down. But the grandsire. From the ground he pulled the string of his bow to his ear and sent a fatal arrow at Sveta. Arjuna made short work of the warriors. even before the mace dashed against the chariot. and Duryodhana's joy was unbounded. "Son of Ganga. Duhsasana blew his horn and danced in joy. God has blessed you with valiant brothers. filled with conceit on account of the success on the first day. again made strong attack on the Pandava forces and broke their formation. fought on unconcerned. 65. our army will soon be totally destroyed by the grandsire. extorted the admiration of all the great generals in the army." said Krishna to Yudhishthira.

Drona defended himself with great skill. In the movements the chariots made they were so close to one another and moved about so fast that it was not possible to say where Arjuna was and where Bhishma. left uncontrolled. So fierce was the destruction that the entire army trembled in fear. sent a shower of arrows on Drona and carried Dhrishtadyumna to safety in his chariot. bolted carrying Bhishma away from the field. Many times did Dhrishtadyumna's bow break. One of Satyaki's shafts brought Bhishma's charioteer down and the horses of Bhishma's chariot. the son of the king of the Panchalas and brother of Draupadi. But the latter retaliated with equal vigor and with a grin of hatred he shot arrows and sped other missiles at Drona. But Drona again disabled him and prevented his advance. Just then Bhima. The generals of the Kaurava army were greatly perturbed and their previous day's enthusiasm had all disappeared. Only the flag could be distinguished. Bhishma said to Drona: "It is well we stop the fighting now. Thereupon Dhrishtadyumna took up a mace and. Dhrishtadyumna then drew his sword and rushed forward like a lion springing on its elephant prey. As this great and wonderful scene was enacted in one part of the field.The gods came down to watch the combat between Bhishma and Arjuna. Dhananjaya and others returned in great cheer to their camp. Like Death itself he moved about among his enemies and felled them to the ground. hit by Drona's arrows. One of Drona's arrows killed the Panchala prince's charioteer. Abhimanyu and other warriors came up in support of Bhima. went forward on foot. the Kauravas were . Satyaki. jumping down from the chariot. These were two of the greatest warriors on earth. Our army is disheartened and weary. When Bhishma saw this. Drona sent an arrow that brought the mace down. Bhima killed the Kalinga warriors in great number. at another place a fierce battle was being fought between Drona and his born enemy Dhrishtadyumna." On the side of the Pandavas. They eagerly looked forward to sunset when there would be an end to the day's battle. The Pandava army was wild with enthusiasm when Bhishma's chariot sped thus out of the field. They took advantage of the situation and made a fierce attack on the Kaurava army. who saw the Panchala's predicament. He parried the sharp missiles and the heavy maces hurled at him with his arrows and broke them to pieces even as they sped in the air. Both chariots were drawn by white steeds. At the end of the second day's battle. Drona's attack was powerful and Dhrishtadyumna was wounded badly. As the sun sank in the west. Duryodhana who saw this sent the Kalinga forces against Bhimasena. Arjuna's wrath rose when he saw his dear charioteer hit and he pulled his bow and sent well-aimed arrows at the grandsire. with bands playing. he came to relieve the Kalingas. From either side flew arrows in countless number. Great was the loss the Kaurava army suffered in that day's battle as a result of Arjuna's deeds of valor. And the blood flowing made Madhava more beautiful than ever as he stood like a green palasa tree in full bloom with crimson flowers. The combatants were equal and the battle raged for a long while. Shaft met shaft in the air and sometimes the grandsire's missile hit Arjuna's breast and that of Madhava (Krishna).

Even now.' You should have stated the position explicitly to me. Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki are my friends and I cannot attack or slay them. I am an old man and what I am doing is quite my utmost. it would be best if you and Drona told me frankly your mind in the matter. Satyaki's chariot was broken to pieces and he had to scramble up Abhimanyu's chariot and thereafter both fought from the same chariot. Javelins and spears and other missiles flew in the air shining like forked lightning in a thunderstorm. THE THIRD DAY'S BATTLE ON the morning of the third day Bhishma arrayed his army in eagle formation and himself led it while Duryodhana and his forces protected the rear. Surely these men are not equal to you. So great was the care taken over every detail that the Kauravas were certain that there could be no mishap for them that day. A counter-attack was made by the Kauravas concentrating on Arjuna's position. The scattered forces were brought together and Duryodhana was again seen leading them. But even this movement created great confusion. 66. All arms were at once engaged and blood flowed in torrents and the dust that was raised by chariots." said Duryodhana to the grandsire." . Drona and Bhishma who saw the discomfiture and confusion of the Kaurava army came up quickly and restored confidence. The battle began. "looking on when our forces are scattered and put to disgraceful flight? I fear you are too kind to the Pandavas. you could deal with them easily. But Bhishma merely smiled and said: "Wasn't I quite frank in my advice to you? That advice you rejected when you decided on war. Dhananjaya and Dhrishtadyumna decided in favor of a crescent formation of their army so as more effectually to cope with the eagle formation of the enemy's forces. Bhima and his son Ghatotkacha attacked Duryodhana's division and in that day's battle the son appeared to excel his great father in valor. Why did you not tell me frankly 'I love the Pandavas. "How can you stand thus. On the right horn of the crescent stood Bhima and on the left Arjuna. Like a great cloud of locusts the shafts covered Arjuna's chariot. I tried to prevent the war but. and the knowledge that the grandsire disapproved of his ways made Duryodhana speak thus bitterly. His charioteer quickly drove the chariot away from the scene. Dhananjaya's attack was powerful but the enemy stood firm. Bhima's shafts hit Duryodhana and he lay in swoon in his chariot. They were able to destroy Sakuni's forces. He feared that the Kaurava forces would be completely demoralised if they saw that the prince had been disabled. Bhimasena took full advantage of the position and worked havoc among the fleeing Kaurava forces." The chagrin of defeat. The Pandavas too arrayed their forces with skill. I am fulfilling my duties by you with all my might. And if you were so minded. But with amazing skill he raised a moving fortification around his chariot with arrows discharged in an unending stream from his famous bow.in the mood that the Pandavas were in the previous evening. now that it has come. horses and elephants rose to hide the sun. At another point Sakuni led a large force against Satyaki and Abhimanyu. Drona and Bhishma jointly attacked Dharmaputra's division and Nakula and Sahadeva joined their brother in opposing Drona's offensive. leading the respective divisions.

Otherwise our army is lost beyond redemption. He jumped down and ran after Krishna. but in spite of it. both he and Arjuna were hit many times by Bhishma's arrows." said Arjuna. The grandsire's bow was working fiercely. even as. brave warrior!" applauded the grandsire. have you indeed come down from the chariot for my sake? I offer you my life. But stung by Duryodhana's reproaches. As they returned to their camps in torchlight. "Come. the grandsire resumed his operations. he entreated Krishna to turn back. come. But. Oh Madhava. You have pledged yourself to it and you have now to carry it out. They did not expect Bhishma to rally his forces and attack them again. h The Pandava army was thoroughly broken and began to scatter. Desist and I promise not to flinch. who covered it with his arrows. the grandsire raged about the field like a destroying fire. I shall be glorified in the three worlds. it met a hot reception from the grandsire. for his heart was not in it. "Hail. Be true to your decision not to flinch from your duty to kill in battle Bhishma. he took up his discus and jumped down from the chariot and dashed forward towards Bhishma. The chariot reins were again in Krishna's hands. Those who opposed him were struck down and perished like months in t e fire. would be utterly destroyed and all would be lost. If I be slain by you. As Dhananjaya's chariot sped on towards Bhishma. "I bow to you. On the contrary. Janardana's (Krishna) anger rose. Give me that boon. Oh Lotuseyed One!" he exclaimed. May your hands take this life away and save me for eternity." he said. "I can stand this no longer." said Krishna. Krishna thought that. "now has the critical time come. Krishna managed the chariot skilfully. He rallied his men and delivered the most severe attack yet made on the Pandava army. if Arjuna went on like this. and dropping the reins. The latter thought that the grandsire had multiplied himself into a number of Bhishmas fighting at several points. they said to one another: "Who can equal . Arjuna bent his bow and discharged three shafts that broke the grandsire's bow. "Do not lose your patience with me. which had been so badly demoralized already. and persuaded Krishna to return. The turn of events in the forenoon had been so much in their favor that the delighted Pandavas were now somewhat careless. I shall kill Bhishma myself if you will not do it!" he exclaimed. Arjuna. his face expanded with ecstatic joy. taking up another bow. Bhishma was far from being perturbed at this. Arjuna attacked the Kaurava forces furiously and thousands were slain by him. Krishna was not happy at the way Arjuna met the attack. Bhishma picked up another bow but it too met the same fate. The Kauravas suffered a severe defeat on the evening of the third day.Saying thus. You must now attack the grandsire. Drona and all the other friends and relatives and respected elders. he poured shafts on Arjuna's chariot with unerring aim. But Arjuna's hands did not do their best. So swift were his movements that afternoon. but were unsuccessful. The grandsire's heart was gladdened when he saw Arjuna's skill in archery. Lord of the World. He had too much regard for his great grandsire. Overtaking him with great difficulty." "Drive on." Arjuna was distressed to see this. Partha and Sikhandin tried hard to restore order and confidence. "Dhanjaya. Vasudeva. the army.

67. I am going to dispatch these wretches to Yama's abode. throwing the Kaurava ranks into disorder. he descended from his chariot. holding his thunder bolt. attacked them so fiercely that they scattered in a wild stampede. Keep your hold well on the reins and drive on. had it not been for his armor. A number of Duryodhana's arrows struck Bhima's chest and he climbed up his chariot again. Bhurisravas. now is the glad hour. Surrounded by Drona. with its chariots. Those that escaped fled in panic and caused great havoc in the Kaurava army. elephants and horses all arrayed in battle order and ready for the fight. we cannot fully understand the epic heroes of that crowded stage. "I see a number of Dhritarashtra's sons before me. Abhimanyu saw this and sent a shower of arrows on Salya and put him in such danger that Duryodhana and his brothers rushed to Salya's help. ordered a wholesale attack on Bhima. It will be seen that even in our Puranic stories elephants fared as b adly in battle as they did in the wars of the Greeks and the Romans. with a wrathful lion roar joined his son whereat the tempo of fighting flared up. Arjuna saw this combined attack on his son and. was exceedingly angry and immediately charged against Bhima with a large force of elephants." So marvelous was Arjuna's prowess that day. made a strong attack on Dhrishtadyumna. Bhimasena also appeared on the scene at this juncture. Bhima's bow was smashed by one of Duryodhana's arrows. Duryodhana. who saw this. The Kaurava army. The latter's bow was severed into two by a sharp missile discharged by Salya. "Visoka. At break of day. The slaughtered elephants lay dead on the field like great hills. the great battle is the central event in the Mahabharata and. Chitrasena and the son of Chala surrounded Abhimanyu and attacked him. As soon as Bhima saw the elephants coming up. The warrior fought like a lion opposing five elephants. The son of Chala was killed. Bhima's attack on the elephants was like Indra's devastating onslaught on the winged mountains. Duryodhana's brothers lost courage. The grandsire gave orders for advance. trampling numerous soldiers in their wild race. When Bhima raised his mace aloft. Eight of Duryodhana's brothers were slain in that day's battle by Bhima. Salya. whereon the Hanuman flag was waving. thereupon. the Pandava warriors came up and joined him. Duryodhana. Dhrishtadyumna also arrived with a large force. Duryodhana fought fiercely." Bhima's arrows would have killed Duryodhana then and there. iron mace in hand. Chala himself now joined and he with Salya. Arjuna watched the hostile movements from his chariot.Arjuna? There is nothing strange in his being victorious. surrounded by the devas. if we skip over it. Aswatthama. Still. The battle commenced. ready to be shaken down like ripe fruits on a tree. Duryodhana and others. presented the appearance of the sky in a great thunderstorm. . THE FOURTH DAY THE battle was very much the same every day and the narrative is one of monotonous fighting and killing. the grandsire looked verily like great Indra. But he stood firm as a rock and presently. Bhishma arrayed the Kaurava forces again. and he too got ready." said Bhima to his charioteer.

" "King " said Sanjaya in reply. The Pandavas are not winning by charms or magic incantations. preferring to do as your foolish son desired." "Ah! Vidura's words are coming true. "Our men are weary. luck does not favor them. Ghatotkacha. but you discarded wise counsel. Bhishma. "Sanjaya. You are in distress now. He had lost many of his brothers in that day's battle. Drona. And Bhishma gave the same answer as I give you. They have done great injustice to the Pandavas. Friends advised you. plunged in great grief." said Sanjaya." he said. unable to bear his grief. "Every day. I shall surely drown. 68. who saw his father sit dazed with the force of the blow. They are fighting according to the practice of kshatriyas. "I do not believe there is anyone with prowess enough in our army to protect my sons from death." Again and again. you give me nothing but bad news. Duryodhana asked Bhishma the same question as you put to me now. Bhima sent an arrow with a knife-edge at Duryodhana that cut the latter's bow into two. "Bhima is going to kill all my sons. Like a foolish sick man who refuses to drink bitter medicine. which was unable to stand against his onslaught." said Bhishma to Drona. when Sanjaya related the happenings of the great battle. "Calm yourself. they have strength. Vidura.Taking up a fresh bow. I am full of fear. "The Pandavas rest on the strength of a just cause. the blind old king burst into tears. overwhelmed in this sea of sorrow. which would have saved your people. of defeat and loss of dear ones! I cannot stand this any more." exclaimed Dhritarashtra. Duryodhana . Their cause being just. you obstinately refused to follow our advice. Duryodhana sat musing in his tent. and they are reaping the harvest of their sins. "We cannot fight this Rakshasa today. Kripa and Aswatthama look on unconcerned when our army fled in terror? What indeed is their plan? When and how are they going to help Duryodhana? How are my sons to escape from destruction?" Saying thus. Your tale has ever been one of sorrow. they win. Therefore. So. but you did not listen and you went on. It is nearing sunset and at night of the Rakshasas grows stronger with the darkness. The Pandava warriors now poured a great shower of arrows on Duryodhana. What stratagem can save my people? How are we going to win in this fight? Indeed. Not baffled by this. Did Bhishma. Duryodhana took up a fresh bow and discharged a well-aimed shaft which struck Bhima on his chest with such force that he reeled and sat down. Let us deal with Ghatotkacha tomorrow. "is this not all the result of your own folly? Of what avail is grief? How can I manufacture good news for you? You should hear the truth with fortitude." said the blind old king. Your sons are brave but their thoughts are wicked. King." When the fighting was stopped on the evening of the fourth day. got exceedingly angry and fell on the Kaurava army. Dhritarashtra would thus lament." The grandsire ordered his army to retire for the night. It seems fate is more powerful than human effort. Last night. THE FIFTH DAY "I AM like a shipwrecked man seeking to save himself by swimming in a storm tossed ocean. his eyes filled with tears. Drona and I tried to stop you in your unwise course.

But Satyaki destroyed it completely and advanced to attack Bhurisravas. But. securely guarding the main body. even like your own. Dhananjaya saw this and retaliated by fierce shafts aimed at Bhishma.went by himself to Bhishma's tent and. Bhishma turned away. Sudakshin. but he could not sleep that night. who was a powerful opponent. aided by other generals. And Sikhandin. I have given you advice on every occasion and told you what was good for you." Duryodhana took leave and went to his tent. There is no doubt. Drona upbraided him severely: "Obstinate prince. that is the only course that should be followed. The Pandava army suffered greatly under the grandsire's attack. Bhurisravas. your powerful brothers. Vikarna and Bhagadatta. you have always refused to follow what your elders counselled you to do. friends instead of enemies. you can all enjoy this vast country as yours. The battle grew fiercer still. the fruit of which you are now reaping. Drona. bowing reverently. and Bhishma's principles did not permit him to attack a woman. I tell you that it is best for you to make peace with Pandu's sons. Kritavarma. Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki stood behind. What then is the mystery behind this daily defeat of our army at the hands of the sons of Kunti?" Bhishma replied: "Prince. Bhishma arrayed the Kaurava forces in a strong formation. Duryodhana went to Drona and complained bitterly according to his custom. I gave you this advice. For your good as well as for that of the world. put Satyaki's men to fight. Satyaki's ten sons saw their father's plight and sought to relieve him by launching an . but you disregarded it and have grievously wronged the Pandavas. Death has no terror for these veterans. Belonging to the same royal house. You are ignorant of the Pandavas' strength. When Drona saw Bhishma turn away. he attacked Sikhandin fiercely and compelled him to withdraw. this same objection proved to be the cause of Bhishma's death. listen to me. said: "Grandsire. So did Dhrishtadyumna for the Pandava army. How then can you hope for victory? Even now. Bhima stood at the head of the advance lines as usual. As soon as Sikhandin stepped in. Bhurisravas. The Pandavas are protected by Krishna himself. you talk without understanding. Duryodhana sent a large force to oppose Satyaki. In the end. Aswatthama. the world knows that you are a warrior who knows not fear. The same is the case with Drona." Drona's powerful attack on the Pandava army was too much for Satyaki who was meeting it and Bhima therefore turned his attentions to Drona. Dharmaputra and the twin brothers held the rear. Kripa. In the after noon. Bhishma bent his bow and discharged his shafts. Bhishma and Salya made a combined attack on Bhima. There was a promiscuous battle the whole of the morning of the fifth day. the prowess of these great warriors is limitless. The battle was resumed the next morning. it is not loo late for making peace and that is the way to rule your kingdom. For Sikhandin was born a girl. All the Pandavas combined cannot defeat any one of you. We are doing our best. and pressed Satyaki himself so fiercely that he was in distress. who are none other than Nara and Narayana. making the Pandavas. Sikhandin supported Bhima by pouring a shower of arrows on Bhishma. Again. Destruction awaits you if you insult Dhananjaya and Krishna. and the slaughter was terrific.

did not wait to be sought. but rushed on him. along with the tired horses and elephants. The soldiers. And the warriors stood face to face with sword and shield in desperate single combat. He went about like fire among cotton heaps. opposed the combined attack and was not to be shaken. according to the situation as it developed from time to time. Bhimasena. even like the ancient battle between the gods and the asuras. With tears in his eyes. names were given to physical exercise. he was alarmed and rushed to prevent disaster. Jayatsena. he asked the charioteer: "Visoka. They. What the strength and composition of the forces arrayed should be and what positions they should take up were decided upon. For Bhima knew that Bhurisravas was an unrivalled swordsman and he did not want Satyaki to be slain. Suddenly. Durvishaha. stood up and fought them all. but found it was occupied only by the charioteer and Bhima was not in it. even in the first part of the morning. Satyaki. They desired to take him prisoner and he to kill them all on the spot. The formations of both armies were soon broken and indiscriminate and fierce fighting went on. 69. Charuchitra. but Bhurisravas undaunted by numbers. The chariots of the two warriors dashed against each other and crumbled to pieces. how. Chitrasena. depended on the requirements of the offensive and defensive plans of the day. Vyuha was the general name for battle array. Bhima came and took away Satyaki by force into his chariot and drove away. When Dhrishtadyumna saw Bhima's chariot disappear in the enemy lines. drove forward at a furious pace to slay Bhurisravas. Bhimasena pierced the enemy's lines to seek out Duryodhana's brothers and finish them. Jaya. elephants and horses and the debris of chariots. similarly. strewn on the field like so many tall trees struck down by lightning.offensive against Bhurisravas. Sudarsana. His well-aimed darts broke their weapons and they were all slain. Vikarna. The sixth day was marked by a prodigious slaughter. perished like moths in the fire. dispatched against him by Duryodhana. THE SIXTH DAY ACCORDING to Yudhishthira's order Dhrishtadyumna arrayed the Pandava army in makara (fish) formation for the sixth day's battle. who did not know what fear was. wild with rage and grief. where is Bhima dearer to me than life?" Dhrishtadyumna naturally thought Bhima had fallen. all together. the son of Pandu lost his patience and jumped down from his chariot. Great was the destruction he effected. Which Vyuha was best for any particular occasion. He was attacked by Duhsasana. He reached Bhima's car. As the sun went down and Bhishma gave orders to cease fighting. . The battle raged fiercely. in hot haste to slay them. or postures. Drona's charioteer was killed and Drona took the reins of the horses himself and used his bow as well. Arjuna killed thousands of warriors that evening. We know. Suvarma. Then. the princes on the Pandava army surrounded Arjuna and greeted him with loud cries of admiration and victory. Durmata. asanas. Blood flowed in torrents and the field was covered by dead bodies of soldiers. The armies on both sides retired to camp. and made straight on foot for the sons of Dhritarashtra. in a combined attack from all sides. Dushkarna and others. The Kaurava army was arrayed in krauncha (heron) formation. for their part. mace in band.

Drona. discharging it. 70. . mace in hand. but the battle was continued for an hour yet and the fighting was fierce and many thousands perished. into the enemy ranks. was terrible that day. Bhimasena had also by now refreshed himself and was ready to renew the fight. The Pandava forces began to waver and Drona was cheered by the Kaurava army. Just then. Bhagadatta. A force of twelve chariots with their retinue led by Abhimanyu came upon the scene to support Bhima. But Duryodhana then joined the fray and discharged weapons to counter the stupor weapons of Dhrishtadyumna. Duryodhana now ordered his warriors to attack Bhimasena and Dhrishtadyumna and not to wait for them to attack or challenge. He got into Kekaya's chariot and took up his position along with the rest. "These thousands of cars. Salya. Vikarna. The usual exchange of hot words took place and was followed by a great battle of archery. Then the day's battle ceased. You are looking on doing nothing. Bhima and Duryodhana met face to face. THE SEVENTH DAY DURYODHANA." Saying this. horses and horsemen. the Trigarta chief. Sakuni. Indiscriminate mass fighting and slaughter went on that day. the king of Magadha. Kripa extricated him with great skill and took him away in his own chariot. and Kripacharya. however. "See there. Bhishma personally arrived at the spot now and led the attack and scattered the Pandava forces. why should you feel downhearted? Get rid of this mood of dejection. Aswatthama. At one time. wounded all over and suffering greatly. Our formations are broken and our warriors are being slain in large numbers. Yudhishthira was glad that Dhrishtadyumna and Bhima returned to camp alive. without waiting for my reply rushed forward on foot. When Dhrishtadyumna found Bhima. Kritavarma. threw the enemy forces into a stupor. ready to give up their lives for you. whose path was marked by the bodies of slain elephants. great war elephants." Fearing that Bhima would be overpowered and killed Dhrishtadyumna drove his chariot into the enemy lines in search of Bhimasena. wounded all over and breathing fire. they made a combined attack even though they were not inclined to engage themselves in further fighting. Dhrishtadyumna embraced him and took him into his chariot and proceeded to pick out the shafts that had stuck in his body. Dhrishtadyumna was greatly relieved when he saw this. The sun was sinking." the grandsire said to Duryodhana. Bhima stood against them all. Dhrishtadyumna had a secret weapon. he issued orders for the day. the two brothers of Avanti." The grandsire soothed Duryodhana with comforting words: "Why do you let yourself be disheartened? Here are all of us. mace in hand. He killed Dhrishtadyumna's charioteer and horses and smashed his chariot and Drupada's son had to seek a place in Abhimanyu's car. reinforcements sent by Yudhishthira arrived. Drona.Visoka bowed and said to the son of Drupada: "The son of Pandu asked me to stay here and. went to Bhishma and said: "The battle had been going against us every day. When these great warriors are here. which he had obtained from Dronacharya and. Accordingly. Duryodhana was hit and fell unconscious. he saw him surrounded on all sides by enemies fighting from their chariots.

Ghatotkacha stood and fought bravely. which gladdened the whole Kaurava army. continued the fight. His chariot was smashed and he jumped down and stood sword and shield in hand. On this seventh day. Bhishma personally opposed Arjuna's attacks. Each chariot was supported by seven horsemen. fled towards Sakuni's car. while Bhimasena opposed Kritavarma. you can vanquish even the gods. alone. Sikhandin then whirled the broken sword and hurled it at Aswatthama with tremendous force. Aswatthama aimed his shaft at his sword and broke it. Nakula and Sahadeva attacked their uncle Salya. was defeated by Aswatthama. Drona and Virata were engaged with each other at another point. But in the end. Nakula's horses were killed and he had to join his brother in the latter's chariot. Duryodhana stood resplendent like Indra at the center of this great and wellequipped army. Duryodhana rubbed it over his numerous wounds and felt relieved. Fear not. Duryodhana and Dhrishtadyumna fought with each other at yet another point. between Bhurisravas and Dhrishtaketu. With this fine army. He. He lost his chariot and horses and acknowledging defeat. But. There were great battles between Ghatotkacha and Bhagadatta. Salya was hit by Sahadeva's arrow and . The army was that day arrayed in circular formation. between Yudhishthira and Srutayu and between Chekitana and Kripa. With each war elephant were seven chariots fully equipped. This day's battle was fiercely fought simultaneously at many sectors. Yudhishthira arrayed the Pandava army in vajravyuha. He went to the field. between Alambasa and Satyaki. however. horses and charioteer. Virata's sons Uttara and Sveta had fallen in the first day's battle. Chitrasena. making him look like a porcupine speeding away in the forest. Sikhandin. The Avanti kings opposed Yudhamanyu. To each horseman were attached ten shield bearers.and those armed foot soldiers from various kingdoms are all ready to fight for you. Everyone wore armor. In the battle between Dhrishtadyumna and Duryodhana. Sakuni came then and took the prince away in his chariot. having lost his own chariot. the former had the worst of it at first but later recovered ground and Alambasa had to flee. he too had to save himself by flight. Bhagadatta attacked Ghatotkacha and put to flight all his supporters. got into Satyaki's chariot and retired. the latter was worsted and he had to climb into the chariot of his son Sanga. but it was met by Aswatthama's arrow. Sanga also was slain just as his father came up to his side. In the battle between Drona and Virata. In the fight between Satyaki and Alambasa. Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti were defeated by Yudhamanyu. Drupada's son. sword in hand. he gave him a healing balm for his wounds. Sikhandin and Aswatthama fought a big battle at another sector. Vikarna and Durmarsha. badly beaten. and their armies were completely destroyed. heartened by the grandsire's words of confidence. the horses of the latter were killed and he had to alight from his chariot. Both continued the fight from the same car. with Bhima's arrows sticking all over him. Kritavarma made a strong attack on Bhima but was worsted. Salya attacked his nephews. Sikhandin." Thus cheering up the dejected Duryodhana.

but the latter was able to intercept it with his own arrow. weary and wounded. and Yudhishthira at the crest of the middle division. This completed the demorahsation of Duryodhana's army. Three of Duryodhana's brothers attacked Abhimanyu who inflicted a heavy defeat on them but spared their lives. The Pandava forces were arrayed in a three-pronged formation." Dhrishtadyumna immediately proceeded to his task. It was an hour of heavenly bliss. Yudhishthira said to Dhrishtadyumna: "See there. Thereupon they closed with each other. when Bhima came and took Chekitana away in his chariot. soothing the warriors to their rest. and standing on the ground. the enemy is in kurma vyuha (tortoise formation). Yudhishthira was not his normal self and burnt with anger. It was not reduced to writing but was preserved by tradition in the families of kshatriyas. because Bhima had sworn to kill them. for an hour. THE EIGHTH DAY WHEN the eighth day dawned. Bhishma arrayed his army in tortoise formation. discharged his arrows. At noon. That day.swooned. we . And the warriors of both sides. sword in hand. 71. soft music was played. When the Madra king (Salya) was seen retreating from the field Duryodhana's army lost heart and the twin sons of Madri blew their conchs in triumph. The Kurukshetra battle was fought some thousands of years ago. all sticking in his breast-plate." At that moment. You have to answer at once with a formation that can break it. Arjuna saw this and said to his illustrious charioteer: "Krishna. and it was a glad sight to see. Yudhishthira then lost his temper and sent a powerful arrow that pierced Srutayu's breast-plate. Satyaki of another. Reading the story of the battle in the Mahabharata. Our ancestors had developed the science of war very well. Bhishma attacked Abhimanyu. they inflicted heavy damage on Salya's forces. the other Pandavas also joined Arjuna. drive the car towards Bhishma. Even in that condition. retired to their tents for rest and for having their injuries attended to. After this. losing his chariot and charioteer. One can see herein what the great lesson of the Mahabharata is. Chekitana was badly hit. and the battle was suspended for the day. Both were wounded and fell on the ground. That hour was spent. says the poet. He then whirled his mace and hurled it at Kripacharya. Thereupon. Yudhishthira led an attack on Srutayu. shone bright around his radiant face. without a word about war or hatred. as the arrows. The latter's well-aimed arrows intercepted Dharmaputra's missiles. The charioteer skilfully drove the car away and saved Salya. Chekitana. Bhima was at the head of one prong. Sakuni similarly took wounded Kripa away in his car. Kripa also alighted. and his armor was pierced and he was severely wounded. he compelled Dhrishtaketu to admit defeat and retire. Srutayu's charioteer and horses were killed and the chariot was smashed and he had to flee on foot from the field. Taking advantage of the situation. And the great warrior was like a sun radiating glory. In the attack on Kripa. alighted and attacked Kripa's charioteer and horses with mace in hand and killed them. Armor and tactics were employed suitably to meet the weapons of offence and the tactics that the enemy used in those days. But the grandsire was able to hold his own against all five until the sunset. Ninety-six arrows of Dhrishtaketu struck Bhurisravas.

build a defence around himself or intercept and cut missiles in transit. If a hundred and fifty years can make so much difference. refused to give even these five villages and so. Duryodhana's heart lost courage before this. we cannot hope to find in the epic of Vyasa. to oppose the Naga warrior. I continue fighting only because men would . in the books of poets and literary writers. It seemed to his friends as if Bhimasena would complete his revenge this very day. we must be prepared for very strange things in the procedure and events of a period. Iravan was slain after a fierce fight. What are we doing all this wretched destruction up on one another for? Just for the sake of property.should not. the English admiral Nelson fought great sea battles and won undying renown. Their culture and their training were entirely their own charge. even if he were able. or how one could be living when pierced all over by arrows. even as he swore in the assembly ball. in his obstinate folly. where the great outrage was enacted. This son of Arjuna by his Naga wife had come and joined the Pandava forces at Kurukshetra. or how far the armor worn by the soldiers and officers could protect them against missiles or what were the ambulance arrangements or how the dead were disposed of. Duryodhana. Said he turning to Vasudeva: "Vidura had indeed told us plainly that both sides would be plunged in grief unbearable. When Arjuna heard this. accurate or full details about weapons and tactics. Military affairs were in ancient times the sole concern of the military order. although the narrative may be of battles. keeping everything else to himself and he would not resort to fighting if that were agreed to. The principles and the secrets of warfare and the science and art of the use of military weapons were handed down from generation to generation by tradition and personal instruction. he broke down completely. by discharging a continuous stream of arrows. So. would seem almost weird and even ridiculous if compared with those of modern naval warfare. what joy are we or they likely to find in the end? O Madhusudana. I now see why the far seeing Yudhishthira said he would be content if Duryodhana would give five villages to us. We have no explanation as to how one could. Bhima killed eight of Dhritarashtra's sons early in the battle that day. There were no military textbooks and there was not any place for them in the works of poets and rishis. All these things appertaining to ancient war. If a modern novel deals in some chapters with the treatment and cure of a sick person. Arjuna had a great bereavement in this day's battle. His dear son Iravan was killed. No author would care. After all this killing. so long back as that of the Mahabharata war. having the practice and incidents of modern warfare in mind. Only about a century and a half ago. the Rakshasa Alambasa. Another matter to be kept in mind is that we cannot expect. we can not expect to see such details in it as might interest a medical man. will have to be in the realm of the unknown in spite of the vivid narrative we have in the Mahabharata epic. these great sins have to be committed on both sides. the kshatriyas. to include scientific details in his story. The weapons used and the vessels that actually took part in Nelson's battles. Duryodhana sent his friend. reject the Mahabharata narrative as mere myth with no relation to fact. however interesting. precise details as to what is tortoise formation or lotus formation.

otherwise think me a coward, who could submit tamely to wrong. When I see the dead warriors lying on the field, my heart is filled with unbearable anguish. Oh, how wicked we are to carry on in this miserable, sinful way." Seeing Iravan killed, Ghatotkacha uttered a loud war-cry which made all the assembled soldiers tremble. And with his division, he fell upon the Kaurava army ferociously. So great was the destruction he wrought that at many points the Kaurava formation was broken. Seeing this, Duryodhana personally led an attack on Bhima's son. The king of Vanga joined Duryodhana with his elephants. Duryodhana fought most bravely on this eighth day of the battle. He killed a great number of warriors on Ghatotkacha's side. Ghatotkacha hurled a javelin which would have ended Duryodhana's career but for the Vanga chief's prompt intervention with one of his elephants. The missile hit the beast, which fell dead, and Duryodhana was saved. Bhishma was anxious about Duryodhana and sent a large force under Drona to support the Kaurava prince. Many were the veterans who were in this force that attacked Ghatotkacha. So tumultuous and fierce was the fight at this sector of the battle that Yudhishthira feared for Ghatotkacha's safety and sent Bhimasena to his aid. Then the battle became even fiercer than before. Sixteen of Duryodhana's brothers perished on this day. 72. THE NINTH DAY ON the morning of the ninth day, before the battle began, Duryodhana was closeted with the grandsire. He gave vent to his bitter feelings of disappointment over the way the battle was going. He uttered words that were like the sharp spears and pained the grandsire greatly but the latter was patient and said sadly:

"Like ghee on the sacrificial fire I am pouring my life out for you. Why do you seek to mortify me, who have been doing my very utmost for you? You speak like a man of no understanding, not knowing what is right and what is wrong. They say that, when a man is nearing his death, the tree appears to him to be made of gold. You see things now, not as they are. Your vision is clouded. You are now reaping the harvest of the hatred you deliberately sowed. The best course for you are to go on fighting, as well as you can. This is also the plain path of duty. It is not possible for me to fight Sikhandin, for I can never raise my hand against a woman. Nor can I with my hands kill the Pandavas, for my mind revolts against it. I will do everything barring these two and fight all the warriors opposed to you. Nothing is gained by losing heart. Fight as a kshatriya should and honor will be yours whatever the events." Saying thus to Duryodhana and cheering him up with wise and affectionate words, Bhishma proceeded to issue instructions for arraying the forces for the day's battle. Duryodhana was heartened. He sent for Duhsasana and said to him: "Brother, put forth all our strength in today's battle. I am convinced, the grandsire is fighting on our side with his whole heart. It is only against Sikhandin, he says, he cannot use his weapons. We should see that he is not exposed to Sikhandin's attacks, for you know, even a wild dog can kill a lion if the latter scorns to fight back." There was a great fight between Abhimanyu and Alambasa. Abhimanyu demonstrated that his valor was no less than his illustrious father's. Alambasa had to flee on foot to save himself. There were fierce combats between Satyaki and Aswatthama and between Drona and Arjuna. Thereafter, all the Pandavas attacked the grandsire and

Duryodhana sent Duhsasana to support the old warrior. Bhishma fought furiously and beat the Pandavas back. The Pandava forces were thoroughly demoralised and were flying hither and thither, like cattle that had lost their way in the forest. Krishna halted the chariot and said to Arjuna: "Partha, you and your brothers were looking forward to this day, after thirteen years. Do not hesitate to kill the grandsire. Remember the duty of a soldier." Arjuna bent his head down and, without looking up, replied: "I would much rather have continued to be an exile in the forest than kill the grandsire and the teachers whom I love, but I shall obey you. Drive on." Arjuna's heart was not in the fight. Unwillingly and in great distress of mind, he proceeded to the combat. Bhishma, on the other hand, burnt fiercely like the noonday sun. When the army saw Arjuna's chariot proceed towards Bhishma, it regained courage and order once again prevailed. Bhishma's arrows came thick and fast and covered the advancing chariot so completely that neither horses nor vehicles could be seen. Krishna was unperturbed and drove on with circumspection and skill. Arjuna's shafts hit Bhishma's bow and shattered it many times. But the grandsire went on renewing his weapon. "You are not fighting, Arjuna, as you should!" exclaimed Krishna, and jumped down in a rage from the chariot and, taking up his discus, he advanced towards the grandsire. Bhishma saw Vasudeva approaching. "Hail, O Lotus-eyed One!" he cried. "Blessed am I to be separated from the body by you! Come, come!"

Arjuna jumped down from the chariot and, rushing forward overtook and held Krishna, casting both his arms around him. "Stop, Krishna," he cried. "Do not break your pledge. You have promised not to use weapons in this battle. This is my work. I shall not fail. I shall send my arrows and kill the beloved grandsire myself. Pray, mount the car and take the reins." Arjuna took Krishna back and the battle was resumed. The Pandava forces had been handled roughly, but now the sun was down in the west and the fighting ended for the day. 73. THE PASSING OF BHISHMA IT was the tenth day of the battle. Keeping Sikhandin in front of him, Arjuna attacked Bhishma. When Sikhandin's darts pierced his breast, sparks flew from the grandsire's eyes. For a moment the old warrior's anger rose like flaming fire and his eyes glared as if to consume Sikhandin. But, at once, the grandsire restrained himself. He decided not to be provoked into fighting Sikhandin, who was born a woman and to strike whom it seemed unworthy of a warrior. He knew, however, his end was near and calmed himself. Sikhandin went on discharging his arrows, not minding the battle of emotions in his opponent's mind. Arjuna also steeled his heart, and from behind Sikhandin aimed arrows at the weak points in Bhishma's armor, even while the grandsire stood still. Bhishma smiled as the arrows continued to come down thick on him, and turning to Duhsasana, said: "Ah, these are Arjuna's arrows! These cannot be Sikhandin's, for they burn my flesh as the crab's young ones tear their mother's body." Thus did the grandsire look upon his dear pupil's arrows and, while saying this to Duhsasana, he took up a javelin and

hurled it at Arjuna. Arjuna met it with three arrows which cut it to pieces even as it was speeding through the air. Bhishma then decided to end the combat and made as if to dismount from his chariot, sword and shield in hand. But before he could do so, his shield was cut to pieces by Arjuna's arrows. With arrows sticking all over his body so thickly that there was not even an inch of intervening space, Bhishma fell headlong to the ground from his chariot. As he fell, the gods, who looked on from above, folded their hands in reverent salutation and a gentle breeze, laden with fragrance and cool raindrops, swept over the battlefield. Thus fell the great and good Bhishma, the son of Ganga, who came on earth to hallow it and all it bears. The blameless hero who, unasked, made the great renunciation to give joy to his father. The undefeated bowman who had humbled the pride of Rama of the axe. The selfless worker for righteousness' sake, thus repaid his debt to Duryodhana, and lay wounded to death sanctifying with his life-blood the battlefield. As the grandsire fell, the hearts of the Kauravas also fell along with him. Bhishma's body did not touch the ground, on account of the arrows sticking out all over his body. His body shone more brightly than ever before, as it lay as on a bed of honor, supported by the shafts that had pierced his flesh. Both armies ceased fighting and all the warriors came running and crowded round the great hero, who lay on his bed of arrows. The kings of the earth stood with bowed heads round him, as the gods round Brahma. "My head hangs down unsupported," said the grandsire. The princes who stood near, ran and brought cushions. The old warrior rejected them with a smile and, turning

towards Arjuna said: "Dear son Partha, give me a cushion befitting a warrior." When Arjuna, whose arrows were just then burning the grandsire's flesh, heard those words addressed to him, he took three arrows from out of his quiver and so placed them that the grandsire's head found support on their points. "Princes," said Bhishma addressing the assembled chiefs, "Arjuna's arrows were indeed what my head required to be supported on. This pillow gives me satisfaction. Now, I must lie thus until the sun turns north. My soul will not depart till then. When I pass away, those of you who may be alive then may come and see me." Then the grandsire turned again to Arjuna and said: "I am tormented with thirst. Get me some drinking water." At once, Arjuna raised his bow, and drawing, it to the ear, shot a shaft down into the earth near the grandsire on his right side. Upon the opening made by the arrow, there gushed a stream of pure sweet water to the very lips of the dying man. Ganga came up, says the poet, to quench her dear son's burning thirst. Bhishma drank and was happy. "Duryodhana, may you be wise!" said Bhishma, addressing the Kaurava prince. "Did you see how Arjuna brought me water to quench my thirst? Who else in this world can do such a deed? Make peace with him without further delay. May the war cease with my exit. Listen to me, son, make peace with the Pandavas." The grandsire's words did not please Duryodhana. Even when dying, the patient does not like medicine. He objects to the bitter taste. All the princes retired to their camps. 74. KARNA AND THE GRANDSIRE WHEN he learnt that Bhishma lay wounded and dying, Karna hurried to the place and fell at his feet and said:

"Eldest of the race. Radha's son, who, through no fault of his, incurred your great displeasure, humbly prostrates himself before you." When after humble salutation Karna stood up, the grandsire, greatly moved, tenderly placed his hand on Karna's head and blessed him. "You are not Radha's son, young man," he said in loving tones: "You are Kuntidevi's own first born. Narada, who knows all the secrets of the world, himself revealed this to me. Son of Surya, truly I entertained no dislike for you. But I was grieved to see your increasing hatred of the Pandavas although they gave you no cause for it. I know and admire your valor and your open handedness. And I know also that you belong to the class of Phalguna and Krishna in prowess. It is proper that you befriend the Pandavas. Therein lies the right path for you who are their brother. With the closing of my part in this war, may the chapter of your enmity also close. This is my wish, Karna." Karna listened respectfully and replied: "Grandsire I know I am Kunti's son, and not charioteer born. But I have eaten Duryodhana's salt and must be true to him, to be true to my own lineage. It is impossible for me to go over to the Pandavas now. You must permit me to repay with my life, if it so be the debt I owe to Duryodhana for his love and trust. I have erred greatly in word and deed. You must forgive me for it all and give me your blessings." The great acharya, who knew all the laws of right conduct and what Karna said, replied: "Do reflect for a while and then do as you wish, for that is the right way." Even when Bhishma was mortally wounded and lay dying, the battle did not cease. Discarding the grandsire's words of wisdom, the Kauravas resumed the battle.

Deprived of Bhishma's leadership, the Kaurava forces felt like sheep without a shepherd when Bhishma no longer led them. Indeed, even as Bhishma fell wounded, the men shouted: "O Karna, you are the one left to lead and protect us." The Kaurava warriors felt that, if but Karna would agree to take up the command, victory was certain. During the first ten days when Bhishma led the forces, the son of Surya kept away from the battle. As already narrated, deeply hurt at the grandsire's contempt, Karna had said: "So long as you are up fighting, I shall keep aloof. If you slay the Pandavas and bring victory to Duryodhana, I shall be glad. And I shall then, taking the king's leave, go to the forest. But, if you be defeated and go to the abode of the brave, I who am not deemed by you as an adhiratha (master of chariot warfare) will ride my chariot and oppose those whom you deem to be of greater prowess than myself. And defeating them, bring victory to Duryodhana." Thus had Karna sworn and, with Duryodhana's consent, kept aloof from the battle during the first ten days. Now he went on foot to Bhishma who lay on his bed of arrows waiting for his end and, saluting him, addressed him thus: "Veteran grandsire, vanquisher of Parasurama, you lie on the field of battle, struck down by Sikhandin. If you, who had reached the summit of right living and were an embodiment of purity itself, must lie wounded in this manner, it is clear that no one can attain in this world what he deserves by his merit. You were the one boat on which the Kaurava princes depended for crossing the flood of their troubles. Heavy indeed will be the blows that the Pandavas will now deal at the Kauravas and great will be their

knowledge of sciences. His sorrow. May you lead Duryodhana's forces to success! May you have every good fortune! Fight your enemies. When the valorous Karna entered the field on his war chariot. Many more things you have accomplished for him. courage. who have accepted the command of the forces. So great was their enthusiasm and confidence in Drona's leadership. They cannot all be put in joint command and. the teacher of all these princes and warriors. in the presence of the assembled warriors and princes."You are like the good earth to the seeds. was in some degree alleviated. So. skill. age. DRONA IN COMMAND DURYODHANA and Karna held counsel as to who should be put in supreme command of the forces." Karna. ever dependable. as supreme commander. strength." Bhishma gave his blessings to Karna. it was certain that the Pandavas would be destroyed. he was everywhere in the field and displayed the fierce energy of a young warrior. wisdom. ancestry and wisdom. Though of advanced years. But now that Karna was in the field. No kshatriya equals him in the qualities required for leading our army. who had till then stood aside was now seen moving about in his great chariot on the battlefield and this put new courage and joy into the hearts of the Kaurava soldiers. firm in your loyalty. "All these kings are of equal prowess. This is certain." Duryodhana agreed that this was the right thing to do. He indeed is the greatest of all those that carry arms today. this army will be victorious. The talk went round in the army that the great Bhishma did not wish to slay the sons of Pandu and therefore had not put his whole heart in the fight. Thereby we stand to suffer. Arjuna and Krishna will destroy the army of Kauravas." said Karna. Duryodhana went to Dronacharya and. valor and skill. You fought the Girivrajas on his behalf and defeated them. Serve Duryodhana and save him. at having lost Bhishma. like rain clouds to living beings. Like fire and wind burning down the forest. made the Kauravas feel as though they had already vanquished the enemy. go. Drona was installed in due form amidst thunderous acclamation. Drona arrayed the army in circular formation. You vanquished the Kambojas for him. ancestry. and so it was decided. energy. 75. Dronacharya was in command for five days of the battle. The praise of courtiers and the sound of trumpets that accompanied the ceremony. Karna. having received the benediction of the grandsire. my advice is that we install Dronacharya. you are unrivalled among all those assembled here in caste. Let us therefore install him. if any of them be chosen. the . Turn your gracious eyes on me and bless me. You put down the Kiratas of the Himalayan fastnesses for him. mounted his chariot and rode to the battlefield. everyone of these princely warriors fighting on your side is great enough to be put in charge of our forces as supreme commander. "Well. Under your command. Take charge of the Kaurava army now as your own rich possession and guard it well. valor. each of the others would feel hurt and may not put forth his whole strength in the cause. Whenever he led an attack. I beg of you to accept the supreme command. bowed and addressed him: "Revered Master.consequent distress. Duryodhana's joys knew no bounds." The assembled kings received this proposal with loud cheers and war cries that gladdened Duryodhana's heart.

He harassed and inflicted severe punishment on the Pandava army during the five days he was in command. Yudhishthira is one without an enemy and the name Ajatasatru. And Duryodhana knew that it would only mean the utter defeat of his army. if Yudhishthira was captured alive. Karna and Duhsasana sat in council and decided on a plan.Pandava forces were scattered like clouds before a storm. when he heard Duryodhana request that Yudhishthira should be captured alive. When even you have made up your mind that he should not be killed but should be captured alive. What then was the point in killing Yudhishthira? On the other hand. The gods are showering their favors on Kunti's good son. Abhimanyu. Bhima. not even a total victory. and the anger of the Pandavas would be all the greater. dear Duryodhana." Drona was exceedingly glad and he said again: "Indeed Yudhishthira is the most fortunate man on earth. he began to reveal his real intentions. . great was his joy." When Drona heard Duryodhana address him thus. 76. Arjuna. what you intend. "You wish to defeat the Pandavas in battle and then give them their share in the kingdom and live in peace and amity with them. The battle would rage more fiercely than before. "Do you too wish to abstain from killing Yudhishthira? How it gladdens my heart! Truly. may you be blessed!" the acharya said. Krishna would still remain alive and he would put either Draupadi or Kunti in sovereign possession of the kingdom. And as soon as Drona acceded to his proposal and gave his pledge that he would do his best to capture Yudhishthira. So has he won the hearts of even enemies. He fought Satyaki. Even if the fight were to be continued relentlessly until both armies were destroyed. Even though. "Duryodhana. nothing would be gained by it. Duryodhana thought." "I see. And Duryodhana went to Dronacharya to put it in operation. He personally engaged the greatest warriors on the Pandava side in battle. It was pretty certain he could be drawn into the battle of dice again and sent to the forests once more." But Duryodhana's motives in wishing to take Yudhishthira alive were far different. his unrivalled glory has become ten times enhanced. Dhrishtadyumna. we desire that you should capture Yudhishthira alive and give him over to us. he loved the sons of Kunti and especially the pure-minded Yudhishthira. which the people have given to Kunti's eldest son. We desire nothing more. Thereafter. So." Drona continued. the acharya loyally joined the Kaurava side against the Pandavas. for he hated the very idea of slaying the Pandava brothers. If Yudhishthira were slain. to fulfil his obligation. has been justified by your great decision. Drupada and Kasiraja and defeated them on many occasions. If you achieve this for us. I see this clearly from your desire to capture Yudhishthira alive. "Acharya. he felt greatly relieved. TO SEIZE YUDHISHTHIRA ALIVE AS SOON AS Drona assumed command of the Kaurava forces Duryodhana. he could surely play on Yudhishthira's goodness and his loyalty to the traditional code of kshatriya conduct. we shall all be exceedingly satisfied with your conduct of the war. the war would end more speedily and victoriously for the Kauravas.

Jayadratha and Salya singlehanded and made them withdraw. feathered with eagle-feathers. drawn by four noble Sindhu horses. who saw this. But. Many were the single combats among renowned warriors. The news that Drona had given a solemn assurance to Duryodhana that he would take Yudhishthir a prisoner. There was a fierce battle between Sahadeva and Sakuni skilled in illusion warfare. was carried by their spies to the Pandava army. The Pandavas knew that. smiling most provokingly all the time. In the first day's battle under the leadership of Drona. The Kaurava forces began to lose courage and the Pandava army. he decided to restore lost morale by leading a straight attack on Yudhishthira. the earth rumbling under the wheels of his chariot. When Duryodhana made his motives clear to Drona. they always took care to leave sufficient protection against any surprise attack on Yudhishthira. in the direction of Yudhishthira. So also was there fierce fighting between Satyaki and Kritavarma and between Virata and Karna. the acharya amply demonstrated his great skill and energy. When their chariots broke. But Drona did not mind. not the fulfilment of the desires. His rapid movements made the Pandava army feel as if Drona was everywhere at the same time showering arrows like rain and converting the battlefield into a stage for the dance of the God of Death. Dhrishtadyumna tried to intercept Drona but in vain. He cut the Pandava army in twain where Dhrishtadyumna stood. and advanced at great speed. When Drona saw this. attacked the Kaurava army with renewed energy and broke its ranks. Between Kripacharya and Dhrishtaketu there was a battle in which the latter was worsted. when the acharya was determined on something and gave his pledged word for executing it.Ten days of fighting had demonstrated to Duryodhana that further fighting would only result in the destruction of the race. they struck each other with maces and closed with one another in single combat. Salya fought his nephew Nakula and harassed him exceedingly. he was glad that Yudhishthira was not to be killed. His golden chariot went forward. Suddenly. The whole army shouted: "Yudhishthira has been taken!" So near came Drona. Salya had his car smashed and his flag brought down. then. and he withdrew admitting defeat. From his Gandiva bow issued a continuous stream of arrows. like two hills sprung to life and motion. for Arjuna had come on the scene. Drona held back. Then there was a great combat between Salya and Bhimasena in which Salya was defeated and made to retire. No one could see the shafts taken out of the quiver or placed in . Yudhishthira answered with barbed arrows. Kritavarma. And. But whatever the reason for it. He moved about destroying the Pandava forces like a fire burning up dry logs. the acharya was greatly disappointed and he cursed Duryodhana in his heart. So. Abhimanyu's valor was also demonstrated as he fought Paurava. Whatever movements might take place. Between Bhima and Vivimsati there was a great battle in which chariots were broken on both sides. they alighted on the ground. over bones and bodies lying in heaps. they soon got busy and so arrayed the forces that Yudhishthira was never left unsupported. his unrivalled eminence in the art of war and his valor made it a most serious affair. Yudhishthira's bow was cut down and Drona was coming very near. as it coursed swiftly over the bloody field. Arjuna appeared on the battlefield. in the end.

standing in support of you. it is unworthy to flinch. do we not?" The chief of the Trigartadesa who heard Drona say this talked it over with his brothers. Arjuna's attack began to tell and the Trigartas fell in swathes before him but Susarma reminded them of their oath. Yudhishthira was not taken. Having sworn terrible resolves. The Pandava army marched proudly to camp and behind them walked Kesava (Krishna) and Arjuna conversing. and shouted "O Arjuna!" challenging him to battle. Susarma and his men are calling me to battle. The battle was stopped for the day and the Kaurava forces went to their camp in chastened mood. and sat before the fire. strong and skilled in. He knows no fatigue and nothing escapes his watchful eyes. I could pierce the Pandava formations and capture Yudhishthira. see the Trigartas standing. Indeed they are full of the exultation of approaching swarga." "Brother beloved. "Heroes. Keep that in mind and do whatever you think fit. The battlefield was darkened by flying missiles.position. the samsaptakas are calling me to battle." So speaking to his great charioteer. Drona retreated. every branch of archery. . "There." replied Arjuna. dressed in matted grass. we have taken our oaths before the fire and in the presence of the whole army of warriors. THE TWELFTH DAY THE attempt to capture Yudhishthira alive failed. then also we win indeed. If he does that. This was the Twelfth Day of the great battle. I am pledged to accept a challenge thus thrown out. If we flee in fear from battle. "you know Drona's intentions. Let us not fall into public ridicule. It is no want of interest on my part. Thus closed the eleventh day of the battle. Permit me to go. It was a fierce fight." said Yudhishthira. and faced Arjuna with the sublime courage of accepted deaths. Arjuna approached the large samsaptaka force. from out of the great bow. "As long as he is alive and by you. If by some stratagem we could draw Arjuna away to some other part of the field. an unending flood of arrows issued without intermission. Drona was speaking to Duryodhana about this." The samsaptakas cheered their leader. He is a matchless warrior. nothing can happen to you. He has promised Duryodhana to take me alive. Krishna. renouncing honor. here is Satyajit. After a time. I promise to seize him and deliver him to you provided he does not flee from the battle. they gathered. Accordingly. and they made a plan. and took their oath: "Not till we have killed Dhananjaya will we turn back. though they know they go to certain death. They resolved to take the samsaptaka oath and challenge Arjuna to battle and draw him away from Yudhishthira's side. they marched south for that was the direction of Death." "King. It was a great suicide squad organized to achieve what Drona had pointed out to be essential. cheerful under the intoxication of their oath. may we be punished as for deadly sin!" Having adjured themselves thus before the sacred fire. I shall destroy them all and return." So saying Arjuna asked the Panchala prince Satyajit to stand guard by Yudhishthira's side and marched off like a hungry lion to meet the samsaptakas. Arjuna turned to Yudhishthira and addressed him thus: "King. and went through funeral gifts and ceremonies for themselves as if already dead. together with a large force. 77. brave. "It is clear we cannot succeed in our efforts to seize Yudhishthira so long as Dhananjaya is nearby. It seemed as if.

and pulling the string of his Gandiva. Dhananjaya?" shouted Krishna." The son of Drupada did not wait for Drona to advance but marched forward in his car himself to meet Drona." Karna shook his head. The wrongs they have undergone are too great to be forgotten. followed the attack but he too perished. And he wheeled his chariot in another direction where Drupada was leading his forces. Look after the forces with vigilance. You tried to poison and kill them. You have grieved and humiliated them at the game of dice and you have forced them out to live in the forest for long years. he too was mortally wounded and fell from his chariot like a failing star. for well he knew that his death was destined to be at his hands and that death was not yet due. "Yes. The fighting was severe. It was like the Rudra dance of dissolution. "Do not be so confident. Seeing this. son of Virata. Drona. Satanika's severed head rolled on the ground with the golden kundalas shining in the earlobes. Yudhamanyu. Then. Drupada's forces suffered heavy punishment at Drona's hands and blood flowed in streams on the battlefield. They will never surrender. See how their army reels under Drona's blows. As Arjuna proceeded to oppose the samsaptakas. In a moment. "The Pandavas are not to be so easily vanquished. scattered death among the doomed Trigartas. The field was full of severed limbs and headless bodies and presented a terrible spectacle. Dronacharya avoided Dhrishtadyumna. The Pandavas stood firm and answered Drona's attacks with showers of arrows. the Gandiva. At one time Arjuna's car and flagpole were immersed in darkness under the downpour of arrows. Drive on. Duryodhana was delighted and said exultingly to Karna: "Radheya. their army has rallied and all their forces are leading a combined . Then. You tried to burn them alive. Vasudhana rushed forward to stop the advance of Drona. Drona was now almost within reach of Yudhishthira. Satanika. a prince of Panchala. But. another chief." said Arjuna. another son of Drupada. but he too fell dead. Panchalya. "Are you alive. They will not surrender. Yudhishthira saw this movement and spoke to the Panchala prince Dhrishtadyumna: "The brahmana is coming to seize me. Drona gave orders for a violent assault on the Pandava forces at the point where Yudhishthira stood. then. again turned his attention to Yudhishthira. rushed madly up to stop the acharya and fought most desperately. Ketama. discharged shafts that dispelled the arrow-shower. do you see the valor of our mighty leader? No more will the Pandavas be inclined towards battle. marched against Drona. fell dead. At that moment. See there." replied Arjuna. Satyajit made a charge on Drona's car and there was a fierce combat in which Drona's figure assumed the grimness of the Destroyer. were repulsed and all these great warriors had to retreat. they are resolved on fighting to the last. The burst of blood in their compct ranks was like the burst of Palasa blossoms in a springtime forest. as well as Satyajit. Vrika. Satyaki. Driven by Madhusudana (Krishna) Arjuna's chariot moved like Indra's car in the great war of the gods against the asuras." he said. Arjuna's great bow. It went here and it went there and wherever it went. Sikhandin and Uttamaujas who came to push Drona back. Many a warrior was slain by him in succession."Hrishikesa.

attack on Drona. There, see Bhima, Satyaki, Yudhamanyu, Kshatradharma, Nakula, Uttamaujas, Drupada, Virata, Sikhandin. Dhrishtaketu and other warriors have all come to protect Yudhishthira and are pressing Drona hard. We should not stand idly watching, when we have put such a heavy burden on the acharya. Great as he is, there is a limit to the load even he can carry. Even wolves combined in large numbers can harass and kill a mighty elephant, Let us proceed. It will not do any longer to leave Drona unsupported." 78. BRAVE BHAGADATTA DRONA made many attempts to take Yudhishthira prisoner, but failed. Duryodhana led a large elephant division against Bhima. Bhima defended himself from his chariot with well-aimed arrows. He sent crescent-headed shafts and tore down Duryodhana's flag and cut down his bow even as he held it in his hand. Seeing the king harassed in this manner, the Mlechchha king Anga marched against Bhimasena seated on a huge elephant. But Bhima sent shafts that laid the elephant low and killed the Mlechchha king, which resulted in scattering that section of the Kaurava forces in fear and confusion. When the elephants stampeded, the horses also took fright and thousands of footmen were trampled under the feet of the elephants and the horses, flying in wild panic. Seeing this great confusion and the scattering of the Kaurava forces in all directions, the king of Pragjyotisha, the brave Bhagadatta grew indignant. He got up on his renowned elephant Supratika and charged against Bhimasena. The gigantic beast rushed forward with widespread ears and twirling trunk, crashed into Bhimasena's chariot. And in an instant, horses and vehicle were an

unrecognizable mass. But Bhima escaped by jumping off the car in the nick of time. He knew all about elephants. He got below the great and fierce elephant and showered blows on its vital points. The great beast got mad and whirled round like a potter's wheel, trying to throw off Bhimasena, who was sticking to its legs and attcking it from below. It bent down and caught Bhima by its trunk and was about to crush him under its knees, when Vrikodara somehow released himself from its hold and again got below, in between its limbs and sticking to the elephant's under-regions, caused exceeding pain to the beast. Bhima was thus gaining time in the hope that some elephant on the Pandava side would be led to attack Bhagadatta's elephant and enable him to get away. But, when Bhima disappeared from view, being hidden in between the beast's legs, the soldiers thought Bhima was slain. They exclaimed: "Bhima is dead! Bhagadatta's elephant has crushed Bhimasena!" and the cry was repeated all over Kurukshetra. Yudhishthira heard the cry and, thinking Bhima was slain, urged the forces to destroy Bhagadatta. The king of Dasarna charged against Bhagadatta. Dasarna's elephant was also a fierce beast and there was great battle between Supratika and Dasarna's elephant. But Supratika's tusk pierced Dasarna's beast in the side and it crashed down dead. At that moment, Bhima emerged from below Supratika and ran out safe. And the Pandava army cheered when they saw Bhima alive. Bhagadatta was now attacked on all sides, but he did not lose heart. Resplendent on his elephant, he shone like a forest fire on a hill. Ignoring the enemies around him, he drove his beast on Satyaki's chariot.

The elephant seized the chariot with its great trunk and lifting it high dashed it upside down. Satyaki jumped out of the chariot in time to save himself. His charioteer displayed great agility and skill and saved the vehicle as well as the horses, and righting the chariot, drove it to where Satyaki stood. Bhagadatta's elephant wrought great havoc in the Pandava army, hurling warriors about and killing them in great number, striking terror wherever it went. Bhagadatta stood on its back, like Indra on Airavata when he fought the asuras. With ears spread out rigid in anger and trunk extended in front, the great beast trampled upon numerous horses, chariots and soldiers and wrought destruction all over the Pandava army. The shafts hurled at it seemed only to incense it more. Like a herdsman in the forest driving the cattle where he would, Bhagadatta drove the soldiers of the Pandava army before him. Bhimasena, equipping himself once again with a chariot, renewed his attack on Bhagadatta. The elephant stretched out its trunk and blew out a violent spray of mucus that scared the horses of Bhima's chariot and they bolted in wild flight and the charioteer could not check them. A great cloud of dust rose from the field where this great elephant battle raged. Arjuna saw this from where he was fighting the samsaptakas and he also heard the tumult created by Bhagadatta's elephant. He feared things had gone wrong and said to Krishna: "Madhusudana, this is the cry of Supratika, Bhagadatta's elephant. This king of Pragjyotisha is terrible with his elephant, and has no equal in that kind of warfare. He is sure to defeat and confound our men. We must proceed at once and save the situation. We have punished these samsaptakas enough. Drive to where

Drona is engaging Yudhishthira." Krishna drove the chariot accordingly towards the main battlefront. Susarma and his brothers came up behind the chariot and shouted "Stop, stop." At the same time, they discharged shafts at Arjuna's chariot. Arjuna was of two minds. "Here is Susarma challenging me to battle and I hated declining this kind of invitation, but there, t the north of us, our o formation seems broken and our men are in need of immediate relief." While Arjuna was pondering thus, a javelin came hurtling at Arjuna and another towards Janardana. Wild with anger, Arjuna sent three well-aimed shafts, which compelled Susarma to turn back. They lost no more time but drove quickly to where Bhagadatta was doing havoc. As soon as Arjuna's car was seen, the Pandava forces rallied and soon Arjuna reached the lines where Bhagadatta was. Bhagadatta attacked Arjuna on Supratika like the Destroyer incarnate. But Vasudeva's skill avoided the shock, each time the beast charged. Bhagadatta showered arrows on Arjuna and Krishna. But Arjuna's arrows broke the elephant's armor and began to hurt the beast. Bhagadatta saw that his elephant could no longer stand the attack and he hurled a javelin at Krishna. Arjuna met it with a shaft from his bow and broke it into two. Bhagadatta then discharged another javelin that struck Dhananjaya's helmet. Readjusting his helmet, Arjuna bent his bow exclaiming: "Bhagadatta, take your last look at the world and prepare for death!" Bhagadatta was a veteran of very advanced age. His grey hair and the wrinkles on his noble old face gave him the intrepid appearance of a lion. Indeed,

so old was he that the skin hung loose down over his eyes and he had tied its folds over his forehead with a silk kerchief so that they might not interfere with his sight. Bhagadatta was not more renowned for valor than for purity of character and conduct and was one of the most illustrious among the brave men of his time. Men gave him the title 'Friend of Indra' in recognition of his greatness. "Look around for the last time," said Arjuna to this great man and hurled at him shafts that broke his bow, shattered his quiver and pierced the joints of his armor. In those days, all warriors wore heavy armor and the secret of hitting weak points such as joints and moving parts was specially studied by kshatriyas and was an important part of military training. When deprived of all his weapons, Bhagadatta hurled his elephant goad at Arjuna. It was sent with deadly aim and charged with the Vaishnava mantra. It would have killed Arjuna, but Krishna came in between and presented himself as a target for the missile. It settled on his chest as a shining necklace. Charged with the mantra of Vishnu, it could not hurt Vishnu but just became the Lord's jewelled garland round his neck. "Janardana, how is it you have offered yourself as a target for the enemy's missile? You said you would be charioteer and leave all the fighting to me. How could you do this?" protested Arjuna. "Beloved Arjuna, you do not understand. This shaft would have killed you if it had hit you. But it is really my own thing and came back to its lawful owner," Krishna said and laughed. Then, Partha sent an arrow that entered the head of Bhagadatta's elephant as a serpent enters into the anthill. Bhagadatta tried to urge his great beast forward, but it stood stark rigid. And his

loud command went in vain even as the words of man, who has lost his wealth, are disregarded by his wife. Like a great hill the elephant stood rigid for a moment and then it suddenly sank down driving its tusks into the earth and yielded up the ghost with an agonised squeal. Arjuna was somewhat grieved at the death of the noble animal and for his not having been able to slay Bhagadatta, without killing the beast. Arjuna's shafts tore the silken napkin that bound up the folds of the aged king's forehead and he was blinded at once by his own hanging wrinkles. Soon, a sharp crescent-headed shaft came and pierced his chest. And Bhagadatta fell like a great tree in a storm, his golden necklace shining like flowers on the uprooted tree. The Kaurava forces fell into utter confusion. Sakuni's brothers Vrisha and Achala tried their best to oppose Arjuna and attacked him in front and rear. But their chariots were soon dashed to pieces and they were themselves stricken dead on the field like two lion cubs. They both looked much alike and equally noble in appearance. The poet says that the bodies of these two valiant heroes who did not flee when the rest fled, shed a strange lustre all around. Sakuni was full of anger when he saw his brave and incomparable brothers lying dead on the field. He attacked Arjuna fiercely and used all the weapons of illusion, in which he was skilled. But Arjuna's strokes broke all the charms and rendered them useless. And Sakuni had to leave the field, as fast as his horses could bear him. The Pandava forces then attacked Drona's army and wrought great havoc till the sunset, and the twelfth day's fight ended. Drona gave orders to cease fighting and the Kaurava forces, which had lost

heavily, retired in sullen dejection to their camp. The Pandava army, on the other band, was in high spirits and its warriors gathered round campfires in cheerful talk and praise of Arjuna and the other heroes, who had led them to victory. 79. ABHIMANYU EARLY next morning, Duryodhana went to Dronacharya in a state of bitterness and anger. After the customary salutation, he addressed him thus in the presence of a large number of generals: "Esteemed brahmana, Yudhishthira was quite within your reach yesterday and, if you had really wished to take him no one could have prevented you. Yet, you did not take him, and to me the events of yesterday are inexplicable. I cannot understand what makes it hard for you to carry out your promise to me. Verily great men are not understandable." Dronacharya was exceedingly hurt by this insulting insinuation. "Duryodhana," he said, "I am putting forth on your be half all the strength and skill I possess. You entertain thoughts unworthy of a king. As long as Arjuna is present, supporting Yudhishthira, it is not possible for us to seize him. I have told you that already. It is only if we manage some how to get Arjuna out of the battlefield that we can hope to carry out this plan as you desire. And I am devising ways to attain this objective." Thus did Drona nobly conquer his just anger and seek to comfort Duryodhana in his distress. On the thirteenth day, the samsaptakas again challenged Arjuna to battle and he accordingly went to attack them, where they were arrayed to the south of the main battlefront. The battle that was fought between the samsaptakas and Arjuna was the fiercest that ever had been seen or heard of till that day.

When Dhananjaya left the main front for meeting the samsaptakas, Drona rearranged his army in lotus formation and attacked Yudhishthira fiercely. Bhima, Satyaki, Chekitana, Dhrishtadyumna, Kuntibhoja, Drupada, Ghatotkacha, Yudhamanyu, Sikhandin, Uttamaujas, Virata, the Kekayas, Srinjayas and many others opposed him. But their resistance seemed paralysed by the violence of Drona's offensive. Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna and Subhadra, was still adolescent, but had already won recognition as a mighty man-at arms even as the equal of his father and uncle in battle. Yudhishthira called Abhimanyu and said to him: "Dear son, Dronacharya is attacking our army greatly. Arjuna is absent and, if we should be defeated in his absence, he will be grieved beyond measure. No one among us has been able to break Drona's array. You know you can do it and no one else. I ask you to take up this task." "I can do it," replied Abhimanyu. "I have been instructed by my father how to penetrate this formation and can certainly do so. But if after forcing my way, it should unfortunately become necessary for me to come out, I shall be at a loss what to do, being as yet uninstructed in the art of extrication." "Valiant boy, break this impregnable formation and open a passage for us. We shall all break in your wake. We shall be with you to face any danger and no question can arise of your having to come out." Bhimasena supported Yudhishthira's proposal: "I shall be immediately behind you and enter when you succeed in breaking the enemy's formation. So also will Dhrishtadyumna, Satyaki, the Panchalas, the Kekayas and the forces of Matsyadesa. Only break the formation as

"Sumitra. Seeing the destruction wrought by Abhimanyu. throwing away all sense of shame and chivalry. chaiot canopies. Drona." "May your prowess grow. but they fell like moths in the fire. Think well before you pierce Drona's array and enter. But the breach closed under the inspiration of Jayadratha. Drona. Then." they thought and began to lose heart. We shall do the rest and smash the Kaurava army. pieces of harness. they managed to rescue the king from the boy-hero who greatly disappointed at the escape of Duryodhana. Bows. Arjuna's son withstood this united ouslaught. having leant that the king himself was engaged in battle with Abhimanyu. whips. am I not? Which other has that advantage? Fear dares not approach me! These enemies here have not a sixteenth part of my strength. Like a young lion on a herd of elephants." The charioteer obeyed. though his equal in valor. became anxious and sent veterans to protect Duryodhana. Duryodhana was wroth and rushed in person to oppose the youthful warrior. Abhimanyu's shafts searched the weak points in the armor of his enemies. covered the field. "Here is one greater in valor than Arjuna. The Kaurava warriors were perturbed as they saw Abhimanyu's chariot approach them with great speed. "May the gods protect you!" said the charioteer. conchs. Drive fast towards Drona's division. Salya and many other great . while you. who found himself alone. along with severed heads and limbs of slain warriors. I am Krishna's nephew and son of Arjuna. But. maces. Sakuni. before the other Pandava warriors could force their way in according to plan and Abhimanyu was alone! Kaurava warriors opposed him." said Abhimanyu to his charioteer. undertook the adventure. Karna. vented his anger on the warriors that had come to rescue him and put them to headlong flight. one after another. axes. And the bodies of soldiers lay strewn on the field like Kusa grass on the sacrificial platform. shields. arrows. spears. Do not hesitate." he said with enthusiasm. There was a ripple in the Kaurava ranks which bent under his headlong onslaught. "Faster. even as on all sides a rock receives the rising tide of the sea. javelins. Abhimanyu rushed on. the soldiers in the Kaurava army shouted: "Abhimanyu is corning! He has come!" The Pandavas followed Abhimanyu close behind him. faster!" urged Abhimanyu as they sped along. Aswatthama. As the golden chariot to which were yoked beautiful young horses approached. Kripa. "Yudhishthira has placed a very great burden on your young shoulders. the formation was breached and Abhimanyu entered. surrounded by enemies on all sides. king of the Sindhus. The bend soon became a break and under Drona's very eyes. and impelled by his own gallant nature. The acharya is unrivalled in skill and experience. Feeling encouraged by what had been said by Bhimasena and Yudhishthira. a large number of veteran warriors made a combined and simultaneous attack on the hero. With great difficulty.you alone can do. "I shall please my great father and uncle. have not his long years to back it." Abhimanyu thought of his father and Krishna. swords. see Drona's flag flying there! Drive straight and fast to that point." Abhimanyu smiled and replied: "Friend. "Let my valor be staked on this." said Yudhishthira and blessed the youth.

equipped with all arms. each time his equipment was broken. The chariots of Abhimanyu and Duhsasana made wonderful movement against each other and the battle raged long. not caring for Drona's shouts of remonstrance. had closely followed Abhimanyu when he broke into the Kaurava formation. Salya's brother came up in great wrath to avenge his brother's disgrace but he fell and his chariot was broken to pieces. alone and unsupported. But in an instant. But the Saindhava. The Kaurava forces. the Saindhava took up another bow and sent unerring shafts at Dharmaputra. oppose a host of veteran warriors and show the skill in the use of arms which he had learnt from his illustrious father and from Vasudeva. Bhimasena's arrows made deadly work. Asmaka rode his chariot at great speed against Abhimanyu's. so that the Pandavas found it impossible to force their way in. with stubborn valor. Duhsasana roared in anger and exclaiming: "This obstinate lad will perish now!" led his chariot forward to attack Abhimanyu. would it take him long to do it!" Often did Duryodhana suspect and complain in this manner against Bhishma and Drona. "The acharya's partiality for Arjuna prevents him from killing Abhimanyu. crashing down the canopy and flagstaff of Jayadratha's car. was alert and rearmed himself. Karna's armor was pierced. Abhimanyu sent his shafts and disposed of him in no time. The army was in confusion and men fled in all directions. only to be dashed back. Salya was badly wounded and sat." Duryodhana said. In this manner. . 80. in the hearing of Duryodhana who could not contain his anger. Dronacharya's eyes were filled with tears of affectionate admiration. "and he sings his praises instead of fighting him. and the latter had to go into Satyaki's car.warriors in their chariots. in his chariot. And Abhimanyu destroyed those that stood. the gallant king of the Sindhus. Indeed. prevented the Pandavas from entering in Abhimanyu's wake. Seeing this. baffled and broken. as fire destroys a dry jungle in summer. Duhsasana was struck senseless in his car. were completely demoralised. But one of Abhimanyu's arrows felled Karna's bow and the young warrior followed up this advantage so vigorously that he put Karna and his supporters to flight. The young hero was thus isolated and surrounded by the Kaurava forces. he was often led to speak in this manner and hurt the feelings of the acharyas who stood loyally by him. and his charioteer just managed to drive away from the field saving Duhsasana's life. unable to move. his uncle. Karna attacked Abhimanyu with his shafts and harassed him greatly. Jayadratha. surged in attack on the young hero. But Dhritarashtra's son-in-law Jayadratha. the poet says. when they saw this. Having undertaken a war of adharma. THE DEATH OF ABHIMANYU THE Pandavas. "Was there ever a fighter to equal this boy Abhimanyu?" exclaimed Drona to Kripa. even when they saw the wickedness of his ways. swooped down upon the Pandavas with all his forces and enabled the breach in the formation to be effectively and solidly closed up. proceeding according to plan. Thus did Abhimanyu. But smiling. if the acharya were minded to dispose of Abhimanyu. Yudhishthira hurled a javelin and cut Jayadratha's bow. He killed Bhima's chariot horses.

His horses and charioteer were killed. the son of Dhritarashtra. with a skill that confounded them. Kripa. Whirling his sword. Even the birds of prey. The handsome youth. Yuyutsu. Still. did not approve of all this. then charged on Abhimanyu. and the six great warriors." The son of Surya did accordingly. disappeared before his arrows. Dorna. The chariot wheel was shattered t pieces. Thus disabled. with sword and shield. Disable him thus and attack him from behind. "Subhadra's son who. the young warrior stood on the field. He attacked all the warriors around him and slew them in great number. his shaft came swift and shining. The son of Duhsasana o came up then and closed with him in mortal combat. Aswatthama. you should be ashamed but. he held his own against the numerous warriors who had surrounded him. "Aim at the reins of his horses and cut them off. stood up facing all the enemies that surrounded him. that circled overhead making noises seemed to cry 'Not thus!' 'Not thus!' " While there was blowing of conchs and cries of victory all over the Kaurava army." said Drona to Karna." So saying. having killed him. It seemed to them as if his feet did not rest on earth and he was on wings. Brihatbala and Kritavarma closed upon Abhimanyu. Arjuna's son was undaunted and. Both went down together but Duhsasana's son rose again and. single-handed worked havoc in the Kaurava army. Then Abhimanyu bent down and taking up one of his chariot wheels and whirling it like a discus. with beautiful nose and eyebrows and hair. The Kaurava army reeled under Abhimanyu's onslaughts. instead. Karna's sharp arrows tore his shield into bits. the combined onslaught of the warriors that surrounded him overpowered him. "Soldiers. you shout brazen cries of victory. Abhimanyu's bow was broken by a shaft discharged from behind.The son of Subhadra was however undaunted. showering arrows on Abhimanyu. your people danced around his dead body like savage hunters exulting over their prey. in the air. Yuyutsu threw his weapon away in disgust and left the battlefield. "And. the soldiers that went to attack him. blind to the danger that is imminent. and pierced Lakshmana. Duryodhana's son Lakshmana. Drona sent a shaft that broke Abhimanyu's sword. The dust from the chariot wheel covered him and the poet says it enhanced the natural beauty of the young hero. like rain falling on a hill. facing his enemies. He fought fiercely like a second Vishnu with the discus. like an elephant in a lily pond. struck him with his mace and killed him." said Sanjaya to Dhritarashtra. was thus overpowered by numbers and killed cruelly. a gallant young warrior. he filled the warriors around with amazement. you revel in foolish joy. Verily. while Abhimanyu was struggling to his feet. retreating soldiers came back and supported Lakshmana. Having committed a most wicked deed. As he stood dauntless like kshatriya dharma incarnate." shouted Duryodhana. "This is ignoble. lay dead on the field and the Kaurava soldiers were filled with grief. like a serpent fresh-sloughed. "It is impossible to pierce this youth's armor. Karna. But soon." he angrily cried. Like rivers losing themselves in the ocean. All good men in the army were grieved and tears rolled from their eyes. . "To hell with the wicked Abhimanyu. you have forgotten your code. When they saw this.

such as war or sickness or accident and keeps the balance between birth and death. "but my mind is not at ease." replied Krishna."He and your other brothers are safe. Then Rudra came and pleaded for allaying this destructive fire. "and it is not meet that you should allow yourself to be lost in grief in this manner. Remounting the chariot. Dhananjaya and Krishna were proceeding towards their camp after defeating and slaying the samsaptakas. We may have reason indeed to grieve for those who remain. His words were not sweet in the Kaurava ears. they proceeded to the camp. This thought of Brahma grew into a flame which became bigger and bigger until it threatened to destroy all creation at once. The sage was received with all honor and Yudhishthira. Krishna. These lives will multiply and soon their number will be beyond the capacity of the earth to bear. 81. . having made him sit. looking for honey. As they approached the camp. Around him were sitting warriors. There seems to be no way of coping with this. it is not right that you should grieve like the unlearned." After saying these words of solace. but I am unable to find it. Death is thus an inescapable law of existence. Brahma controlled the great fire and subdued it into the law that is known to mortals as Death. whose life was all before him in love and joy. Something makes me afraid." "Do not be concerned about Yudhishthira. ordained for the good of the world. Krishna Dwaipayana retired. ambition destroys the understanding of men. O warrior that made Duhsasana flee in fear." Vyasa proceeded to console the bereaved Dharmaputra: "When Brahma created living beings. I do not know why. It was always the custom with Vyasa to come and comfort the Pandavas.This young son of Dhritarashtra feared sin. Knowing the nature of death. whenever they were in great sorrow. I have killed Arjuna's beloved son. Arjuna's premonitions of calamity increased. So he appeared now before Yudhishthira." "You are wise and a knower. "Govinda. instead of protecting him during the absence of his father. but he was a good man and spoke out his mind. in my desire for victory I pushed to the battlefront this boy. There is no fool like me in the world. Like the fool who. A FATHER'S GRIEF YUDHISHTHIRA was plunged in sorrow. It is not true wisdom to be impatient with Death or to grieve immoderately for those who die. he was filled with anxiety." said Vyasa. said: "I have tried very hard to find peace of mind. quivering like a cow bereaved of her calf? How can I utter to them vain words of solace that serve no purpose? Truly. Aswatthama and Duryodhana and who was like a destroying fire to enemy forces. He was their great teacher as well as grandsire. "He has gone to the sleep that knows no waking. There is no reason to pity those who pass away." said Arjuna." On the way. they halted and did the evening prayers. falls into a precipitous pit below and is destroyed. silent in sorrowful thought of the valor of the youthful hero and his cruel death. My mouth feels parched and my heart is troubled with a great foreboding of loss. This law of the creator takes many forms." Thus was Yudhishthira lamenting in histent. he who in battle overcame Drona. I wonder if any calamity has happened to Yudhishthira. are you dead? What then is there for me to fight for or win? Why do we want kingdom now? What words of comfort can I offer to Arjuna? And what shall I say to Subhadra.

and Krishna blew the Panchajanya. The youthful hero did accordingly and broke the great formation and made his way in. and slew him. And Bhima said: "This twang of Arjuna's bow and this blare of Krishna's conch shall be. "Why are you all wearing sad faces? I do not see Abhimanyu here. Did Abhimanyu force his way in? If so. "do not give way thus to grief. He caused the breach in the formation to be closed up at once and we found ourselves unable to follow Abhimanyu. has my dear boy indeed become Yama's guest? Yudhishthira. The soldiers. O Madhava. and then. Abhimanyu. the bereaved father burst into heart-broken lamentation. seeing me from a distance. "Beloved Arjuna. 'Make your way into the lotus array and we shall follow immediately behind you. just then. "Alas. and downcast eyes. Oh. Do you think my brothers are safe? I am confused. Death is ever the companion of those who have taken up the profession of arms and go into battle. Abhimanyu's end is indeed the prescribed and much desired goal of all kshatriyas. We went behind him according to plan. accompanied by his brothers?" They entered the camp. No one among you could pierce it as far as I know. boy as he was." When he heard the full story. Warriors must be ever ready to die young. has attained the happy regions above which grey haired veterans yearn to reach in battle. he twanged the Gandiva string. But. If you give way to grief in this inordinate way. Has he been slain indeed?" When their mournful silence.' I said. If Drona and Kripa come between him and me these acharyas also shall be overwhelmed and slain!" Saying this. the summons of Death!" 82. unto the sons of Dhritarashtra. I say to Draupadi? And what solace can be given to Uttara and who shall give it?" Vasudeva spoke to his stricken friend. had confirmed his worst fears. THE SINDHU KING . Arjuna was again over whelmed by grief and he fell on the ground in a swoon. I fear greatly. This great deed of yours will please the hearts of your father and your uncle. For I knew that he alone could do it among all of us. shame on kshatriyas who could do this! A crowd of redoubtable warriors hemmed him in. How is it Abhimanyu does not run out to meet us today as usual. Dhrishtadyumna and great Satyaki have all of you allowed the son of Subhadra to be slain by the enemy? Alas! What comfort shall I give to Subhadra? What shall. Stop grieving and infuse courage and fortitude into the hearts of the others. he is dead. the wicked Jayadratha came and effectively stopped us. we do not hear the usual auspicious music in the camp. Born as kshatriyas we have to live and die by weapons. thus isolated." Dhananjaya desired to be told the full story of his brave son's end and Yudhishthira related it: "I incited Abhimanyu to enter the enemy's formation. I shall slay this Jayadratha who caused my son's death. he took an oath: "Before sunset tomorrow."Janardana." he said. When he recovered. for I did not teach him how to make his way out of that formation. hang down their heads and avoid my sight. The Sindhu kept us out. your brothers and other kings will lose heart. How is it I see no glad faces? I understood that Drona arrayed his army in the lotus formation. that dared not meet his. Bhimasena. This is strange behavior on their part. determined not to retreat.

He retired to the forest. One who." replied Duryodhana. the Avanti princes. Dronacharya arrayed the main Kaurava forces in circular formation. When Duhsasana saw this. Drona. shall have his head burst at that very moment into fragments. Aswatthama." he said to Duryodhana. you taught me and Arjuna and you know us both well. Vivimsati. At the time of the birth of the prince. Between them and the Pandava army. He . Durmarshana's army was beaten. I discharged my duties as teacher and dealt with you both impartially. Kalinga. proceeded to marshal the forces for the next day. And the warrior dying in battle attains with ease the happy regions which others only attain with great difficulty. Kamboja. "Here are all these veterans and warriors who will stand between you and danger. Salya. welcome it. "I do not want to be in this battle any longer. the illustrious king of the Sindhus. Discard fear and fight. Duhsasana. Karna. however wise or brave. Salya. the Kaurava forces were scattered and fled in all directions. Subahu. who was named Jayadratha. You should not leave us now. was blessed with a son. Satyavrata. which afterwards became the Kurukshetra field of battle. What is your appraisal of us two?" "Son. "Do not fear. Vriddhakshatra was grieved to hear the voice declare his son's end. Durmukha. sever his head from the body. to defend you against Arjuna. Jaya. Vriddhakshatra handed over the care of the State to the prince. Leading a huge force of elephants he surrounded Arjuna." Jayadratha agreed to remain. his anger rose. a voice was heard to say: "This prince will attain great glory and he will attain the happy regions above. where he spent the evening of his days in austerities in an ashrama near the plain. Fight according to the tradition of your ancestors. having spoken thus to Jayadratha. Let me go back to my country. Death comes to us all. The whole of my army will have but one task today. in the field of battle. Twelve miles to the rear of the main army Jayadratha and his detachment were placed in a strongly guarded position. cowards as well as brave men. In his disturbed state of mind. Like clouds driven about by a gale." Jayadratha grew up and. having learnt that Jayadratha was the cause of Abhimanyu's death. But. Bhurisravas. You will be placed behind a strong force that Arjuna cannot easily pierce. had vowed to kill the Sindhu king before sunset next day. you need not be discouraged by this. Vrishasena. Sudakshina. Vrishasena and Kripa were there with all their forces." Drona. Vriddhakshatra. Bhurisravas. When Jayadratha came to know about Arjuna's vow. Chitrasena. Saindhava. ranks among the most illustrious will. who shall cause my son's head to roll down on the ground. Drona's illustrious son and Sakuni all these warriors and I myself are here and you cannot be in danger. He went to Drona and said to him: "Master. he uttered a curse: "He." All living beings must die but hardly any. but Arjuna excels because of his superior discipline and his own practice. he remembered the prediction about his death and feared his end was near. The instruction was the same to you and to Arjuna. Vikarna. Purumitra. Duhsasana was a very wicked man but he was brave also. The spies informed Duryodhana's friends that Arjuna.NEWS of Arjuna's oath reached the enemy. when he reached manhood. Karna. among the warriors of all ages. slain in battle. Bhoja.

If he does. O acharya. he lay stretched dead on the field like a great flagstaff after the festival is over. not my enemy. Arjuna . Saying this. The missile hit Janardana's chest and immediately rebounded fiercely back to Srutayudha." Saying this. like a great forest tree blown down by a storm. "Stop. I have come to wreak vengeance on the Sindhu king. Then the king of Kamboja led his forces against Arjuna. Krishna drove Arjuna's chariot to the left of the acharya and proceeded forward. There is no one in the wide world that can defeat you.fought Arjuna fiercely and the field was strewn with the dead. hurled the mace at Krishna who was not fighting but was only driving Arjuna's chariot. Then Arjuna pierced the Bhoja army. "I shall give your son a divine weapon. No enemy will be able to defeat him or kill him. slain. and greatly harassed him." Saying this Drona discharged a shower of arrows on Arjuna's car. but the acharya showered his arrows that covered Arjuna and his chariot in darkness. rained a shower of arrows on Arjuna and his horses and chariot. The Pandava then decided t cut Drona's o bow and bent his Gandiva for that purpose. "Illustrious one. This is the story of the mace. who seems to know no fatigue. Even as he was pulling his bowstring Drona's shaft came and cut the string. it slew Srutayudha and laid him dead on the field. Arjuna fought back. Kritavarma and Sudakshina who opposed his passage were defeated. The acharya smiled and said: "Arjuna. that commits an error in uttering the spell of power that holds it in thrall." said Arjuna and they proceeded forward at a swift pace bypassing Drona. His mother had obtained this mace as a result of her offering but the condition attached to the boon operated and it came back and struck Srutayudha himself dead. Let him use it in all his battles. Srutayu and his brother Asrutayu then attacked Partha on both sides trying to save the situation. god Varuna gave a mace. Finally. he withdrew defeated and went back to join Drona's forces. "You are my guru. After a fierce fight. There was a fierce battle in which Srutayudha lost his horses and he hurled his mace at Krishna. you must first fight and defeat me before you can reach Jayadratha. Savyasachi's car swiftly proceeded forward and passed Drona. still retaining the smile on his face. When they saw the strong warriors. Partha also replied with his arrows but these the acharya parried with ease and sent flaming shafts that hit Krishna and Arjuna. Srutayudha and the king of Kamboja. when fighting Arjuna." said Drona. I am in the position of a son to you. At one stage of this battle. Let us proceed. Srutayudha also tried to stop Arjuna's progress. Krishna saw things were not going at all well and said: "Partha. But he should not use the weapon against one who does not fight. no more waste of time. I crave your blessings for the fulfilment of my vow. Srutayudha. grieving for my son. The acharya. And like a demon recoiling fatally on the magician. the Kaurava force was in great confusion." said Arjuna to the acharya. surely you will not proceed without defeating your enemy. the weapon will recoil and kill him. Parnasa went through penances that pleased Varuna and obtained from that god a boon that her son Srutayudha may not be killed by any enemy. It is no use fighting this brahmana. disregarding the injunction.

Why did you not prevent the son of Kunti from gambling? Had you done the right thing then. the warriors. But my obstinate son would not listen. and invited this ruinous war. protecting the Sindhu king. you followed the foolish advice of Karna and Sakuni. as he desired. But Krishna spoke to him encouragingly and Arjuna recovered and resumed the fight. Yudhishthira and Drona do not respect you now as they did before. I should not have asked Jayadratha to stay here. But Duryodhana heeded not. Satyaki and Bhima. Tell me what happened. he got entangled in anger and hatred. he exclaimed: "Oh Sanjaya! When Janardana came to Hastinapura seeking a settlement. He advanced before your eyes and nothing was done to prevent it." "Dear Sanjaya. The Kauravas are now doing their utmost as warriors. Krishna. Vasudeva now knows that your rectitude is only hypocrisy." said the old king convulsed with grief. The Destroyer entered his mind and he sought his own ruin. dazed with the wounds he received. Duryodhana was greatly agitated when he saw Arjuna's chariot proceeding triumphantly towards the Sindhu king. slaying the two brothers as well as their two sons who continued the struggle. it is not possible for him to escape death. Even later. go and stop . If Arjuna attacks him. They had believed that it was impossible for Arjuna to get past you and that has now been falsified. Forgive me. Sanjaya continued his narration. Impelled by inordinate ambition. Sanjaya said: "Of what avail are your regrets now? The life-giving water has all run to waste and you now seek to stop the breach. Bhurisravas. I am in great distress of mind. Kesava. this calamity could have been avoided. I shall not take offence at your thoughtless and unworthy remarks. It was a great mistake I committed in not letting him go. all this great grief would have been stopped at the source. donning it. distracted by grief. And obedient to the old king's behest. It is not meet that you should now accuse him or his devoted soldiers. You are like a son to me. will surely lose heart. Arjuna marched on and. He rushed to Drona and complained bitterly: "Arjuna has effected a breach in the great army and has advanced to Jayadratha's position. I told him to make peace with his cousins. What Karna and Duhsasana said seemed to him better advice than mine. I told Duryodhana that it was a great opportunity and he must not lose it. Do not disregard his advice. Seeing our discomfiture. against your own sound judgment. back to his own country." To this frantic appeal Drona made answer: "King. Sir. Drona deprecated war. so also did Bhishma. No one can change the course of fate. if you had been firm and stopped your son from his evil ways.leaned on the flagstaff.' I said. You seem indeed bent on helping the Pandavas. killing many more warriors successfully made his way to Jayadratha. Aswatthama himself is not dearer! Do what I ask you. I admit my dereliction of duty." To Dhritarashtra thus lamenting. 83. You saw the evil and yet. He is putting forth his utmost strength. Kripa and others. I am talking foolishly. in what matter have I offended you? Why are you letting me down in this way? If I had known that you would do this. 'Kesava has come to do us a good turn. BORROWED ARMOR WHEN Dhritarashtra heard Sanjaya relate the success of Arjuna. tell me. What you say is right. Duryodhana has not spared himself. be it ever so unpleasant. Tell me all. but they are unequal to opposing the strength of Arjuna. Take this coat of armor and. Do go in person yourself to save the Saindhava.

May victory be yours. Duryodhana approached without fear. Do not fear.Arjuna. to attack Arjuna. Arjuna broke his bow and disarmed him completely. "How is it your arrows do not seem to hurt Duryodhana? This is the first time I see the shafts proceeding from the Gandiva bow strike their targets without effect. "They say. The combat was fierce indeed and Krishna was surprised. well-versed in bow lore. The acharya has taught me the secret of this armor. I cannot give up this objective and run after Phalguna now. What good luck! Long have you suppressed your anger. If I go after Arjuna now. Arjuna. and now is the time for you to let yourself go. Have your arms lost their power? Or has the Gandiva bow lost its quality? Why do your arrows strike Duryodhana and drop to the ground without piercing him? This is most puzzling. skill and experience. Go forth to battle." Arjuna smiled and replied: "I understand. he went. This man has come dressed by Drona in charmed armor. See there. Here is the man who caused all this grief. Duryodhana. Let me put this armor on you. The warriors around the Sindhu king were surprised. Arjuna had crossed the Kaurava army and gone far ahead towards where Jayadratha had been kept for safety." said Krishna. You will see some fun now!" Saying thus. . our battle array will be hopelessly broken and we shall be lost. I am astonished. Chala. Karna. But remember he is a great archer. dressed in magic armor and accompanied by a large force of soldiers. Krishna blew his conch and it sent a thrill of fear in Jayadratha's army. Let me see if your courage and your skill are indeed as great as your reputation. Krishna unyoked the chariot and let the horses roll in the mud. Go in confidence. first depriving Duryodhana of his horses. There after he sent needle-eye darts which pierced just those parts of Duryodhana's body that were not covered by armor. They were defeated and Arjuna scattered their forces and slew them both. "Partha. When Duryodhana was thus discomfited. his charioteer and his car. Seeing that the horses were somewhat fatigued. After this. Then. Arjuna proceeded to shoot his arrows. clad in the armor given by Brahma. I have not seen this myself. in confidence as Indra did. Krishna stopped the chariot and was about to unyoke the tired animals. until he could bear it no longer and turned and fled. Yudhishthira is here unsupported by Arjuna and is this not just the opportunity we wanted? Our very plan has borne fruit and I must now take Yudhishthira prisoner and deliver him to you. It will not let any blow pass through your body. This coat will protect you against all weapons. and also a keen and strong-limbed fighter. Then. This is strange." Thus said Krishna and they halted to give battle to the Kaurava. that you have done acts of prowess. the clouds of arrows! The Pandava army is attacking us in great force." Duryodhana's confidence was restored and. when the brothers Vinda and Anuvinda came up suddenly and began to attack Arjuna. they proceeded again according to plan. The horses rested for a while and were refreshed. "Dhananjaya. delivering himself into your hands. as the acharya directed." said Duryodhana to Arjuna as he began to battle. but this man wears it as a bullock might do. They at once got ready in their chariots and Bhurisravas. You have valor. look behind! There comes the foolhardy Duryodhana. I cannot do so for my presence is necessary in this part of the field.

Kartavirya. Drona as well as Satyaki were bleeding profusely. Long did this fight go on. The great acharya said to himself: "This man Satyaki is a warrior in the class of Sri Rama. So. now on the horses and now on the yoke. eight of them. they attacked the Kaurava army in force so as to hold Drona and prevent him from going to Jayadratha's rescue. all the while seeming to scorch him with baleful and bloodshot eyes. The chariot hoods and the flagstaffs on both sides were battered down. when he saw Drona desiring battle. As a result of all this. he sprang upon Drona's chariot. Satyaki shot it down again. Satyaki and Drona shot shafts at one another so quick that they covered the sun. losing no time. sent the Varuna astra to counteract it. The Devas. Drona's bow was broken by a wellaimed shaft from Satyaki. "This man is the principal cause of Duryodhana's arrogance. The steel shafts swished glimmering like newly-sloughed snakes rushing about. Dhananjaya and Bhishma. Salya. and the battlefield was in darkness for a while. This man fancies himself a very great soldier and is ever bursting with conceit. Dhrishtadyumna led his forces repeatedly against Drona. even as he strung it.Vrishasena. Long did this equal combat continue. went forward to accept the challenge. Kripa. his eyes red with anger. and the son of Bharadwaja had to take another bow and. advanced on Satyaki who was among the front rank warriors on the Pandava side and who."and was glad he had an opponent worthy of him. Now standing on the shafts of the vehicle." Satyaki's charioteer accordingly lashed the silver-white horses and took the car at a great pace. and was greatly weakened. which would have drunk the Panchala's life but for the unexpected intervention of Satyaki who sent an arrow and diverted the acharya's shaft. Gandharvas and Yakshas watched the great battle from above. Drona of unrivalled skill in archery then resolved on killing Satyaki and sent the fire astra. Drona's chestnut horses and the Panchala's dove-colored ones were entangled with one another and presented a picturesque sight like the clouds at sunset. YUDHISHTHIRA'S MISGIVINGS WHEN the Pandavas saw Duryodhana proceeding in the direction of Arjuna. 84. he attacked Drona bewilderingly. . Take the chariot up quickly. Satyaki had a ready answer of equivalent quality. Dhrishtadyumna attacked him violently. hissing like a black cobra. Drona took up another bow that too was shot down. I must teach him a lesson. the Kaurava army had to fight on three fronts. Dhrishtadyumna threw away his bow and. which enabled the Panchala warriors to take Dhrishtadyumna away. The warriors on either side stood still watching the duel and they did not blow their conchs or raise their war cries or sound their lion-roars. "Here is the man who. Drona then turned and attacked Satyaki. giving up his vocation as a brahmana has taken up the profession of fighting and is causing distress to the Pandavas. It was a craftsman's professional joy at skill displayed in the art he loved." Satyaki said to his charioteer. Drona. Aswatthama and Jayadratha. Drona pulled his bow in great wrath and sent a shaft. For every specially-charged shaft that Drona sent. Driving his chariot right against Drona's. arrayed their forces against Arjuna. Vidyadharas. And so it went on till Drona lost a hundred and one bows without being able to shoot an arrow. But Satyaki saw this and. sword and shield in hand.

We go leaving Dharmaputra's safety in our hands. The Sindhu king and the others cannot cope with a sixteenth part of Arjuna. He pierced the Kaurava ranks in the morning and he has not come back yet though the greater part of the day is gone. Satyaki. there is nothing you cannot accomplish." he said to Dhrishtadyumna." cried Yudhishthira. Just then. replied: "Faultless among men. There is Dhrishtadyumna also. Why are you hesitating? Go at once. There is no need to worry about me. and there are many others besides. "Our great and good hero Yuyudhana (Satyaki) is being overpowered by Drona. Satyaki is indeed in the paws of the Destroyer. Your bosom friend Arjuna. I am certain Arjuna has been surrounded.But now Satyaki's strength began to fail and. I shall obey your command. "but the twang of Arjuna's bow does not accompany it. Oh. When Yudhishthira saw Satyaki was hard pressed. 'There is not another soldier like Satyaki. No one can defeat him. Jayadratha is a powerful warrior. he. Satyaki. and there are many enemy warriors there helping him and resolved to die in defence of him. Arjuna is opposed by forces both in front of him and in his rear. to whom shall I entrust your safety if I must go? I see no one here who can stand against Drona if he comes to seize you. Do not ask me to go.' Thus said Vasudeva and Arjuna to me when they went. "The brahmana will otherwise slay Satyaki in a few minutes. Go at once. Arjuna laid this trust on me. You know his sworn intention. Be vigilant in protecting him. Here is the powerful Bhima to look to my safety.' he said to me when we were in the forest. who was weary after his battle with Drona. Yudhishthira placed a boxful of arrows and other weapons in Satyaki's chariot and got fresh horses yoked thereto and sent Satyaki uttering benedictions on him. If you order me. "O Satyaki." replied Yudhishthira. who taught you." "Satyaki. 'Until we return after slaying Jayadratha you should not leave Yudhishthira's side. he told those nearby to go to Satyaki's relief. is in mortal danger. Satyaki. "I have thought over it. What would I not do for Dhananjaya's sake? My life is the merest trifle in my eyes. How is it that only Krishna's conch is heard? I fear Dhananjaya has been slain and therefore Krishna has taken up arms. Dharmaputra. Drona is playing with Satyaki as a cat plays with a bird." Thus did Dharmaputra speak in great trepidation. look there! The dust is rising that side. Often has Arjuna spoken to me admiringly of your great skill and prowess." So saying. and he is Drona. But allow me to put before you what the wise Vasudeva and Arjuna told me when they left. . We entrust this to you in confidence and go. I am ready to fight the gods themselves. believing me fit for it. How can I disregard his command? Do not have any fear about Arjuna's safety. As I have weighed the danger against the need and I have concluded that you must go. You leave me with my full permission. You should go there at once. There is only one warrior in the Kaurava army whom we fear. I fear Arjuna has been surrounded by Jayadratha's friends and is in danger. I hear Panchajanya." Yudhishthira ordered the army to make a powerful attack on Drona. seeing this. the Kaurava warriors were glad and shouted in satisfaction. Satyaki was saved with difficulty. Consider well before you command me to leave. the sound of Krishna's conch was heard from the sector where Arjuna was fighting.

You cannot proceed further without defeating me. Yudhishthira was greatly agitated." "Dearest Bhima. I shall go and let you know they are safe." said the heroic son of Drupada. Do not let the wheels of your mind stick in the mud of anxiety. trusting him to your care. nor has Satyaki. the unrivalled hero. Yudhishthira is your charge." cried Drona. 85. who was sent after him." "Bhima. go at once to where Arjuna is. you were our preceptor and were like a father to us. and immediately turning to Dhrishtadyumna said: "Panchala. Satyaki. Go with an assured mind. Now. do not grieve. Bhima then approached Drona himself. Drona cannot take Yudhishthira without first killing me. I fear Dhananjaya." said Satyaki. and do likewise and. sworn enemy of Drona." "My Lord. But like a lion scattering less noble beasts he put his enemies to flight. May it be so!" Saying this. by some means or other. I fear your brother has been slain. Bhima aimed his mace at Drona's chariot that crumbled to pieces. But I shall not. under orders from me. I hear the Panchajanya. and went to join Dhananjaya. We respected you as such. But Bhima was furious at hearing these words of Drona." replied Bhimasena. And Bhima hurried away. he began to assault the Pandava formation without rest or interval. And Drona had to take to another chariot. I am your enemy. "Do. in whom were centerd all our hopes. Satyaki met with violent resistance as he proceeded to dash through the Kaurava forces. But I must also obey him and fulfil his command. I hear the conch of Madhava but I hear not the resounding twang of Gandiva. Our foremost duty is to protect the King." Drona spoke thus believing that he would receive the same courtesy from Bhima as he did from Arjuna. if you indeed see them alive. "Here I am. my fear grows."Bhimasena. Drona . like Arjuna. My anxiety is increasing every moment. you have yourself said you are our enemy. has not come back with any tidings. and answered scornfully. but not the twang of Arjuna's bowstring. your enemy. Join him and Satyaki. And so I go. But I cannot let you go. you know very well that Drona is seeking. The Kauravas surrounded Bhima in full force and vowed to prevent him from going to Arjuna's relief. I shall know it by your lion-roar. Bhima. it was not with your permission that Arjuna went. and come back. "Oh brahmana. and it seems to me Madhava has now himself taken up arms. But the resistance was very stiff and his progress was slow. Satyaki. If you would do as I tell you. do not be concerned. YUDHISHTHIRA'S FOND HOPE "ARJUNA has not returned. "I have never seen you so agitated. but he did not hurt you out of pity. has been killed. until it began to break and retreat. "Stop. But he cut his way through bearing down all opposition. Command me as you please." said Yudhishthira to Bhima in great perplexity of mind. pierced the Kaurava ranks and proceeded in the direction of Arjuna. Once upon a time." said Bhima. Be vigilant. When Drona saw Satyaki part from Yudhishthira. The second chariot too was broken to pieces. that bravest and most loyal of friends. not let your fortitude grow less. Your brother Arjuna went in with my consent. to seize Dharmaputra alive. killing no less than eleven of the sons of Dhritarashtra. and do what needs to be done. He broke your resistance and pierced your battle lines fighting his way through. And Bhima forced his way through overcoming all opposition. You go now. show mercy to you. My mind is confused.

What answer shall I make? I have been betrayed by you. Bhima reached where Arjuna was engaged and sounded his simhanada (lion-roar). Only the Lord knows through what travail the world must evolve. relieved o his doubts and f anxieties. that tried to stop Bhima. And he thought within himself: "Before the sun sets today. Arjuna's oath will be fulfilled. it is possible that foolish Duryodhana may see light. He it was who had effectively prevented the relief of Abhimanyu by the Pandavas. It is indeed strange that. your accusations are as unworthy as they are contrary to truth. Seeing so many of his brothers slain. was completely destroyed. And the army of the Bhojas. Satyaki and Arjuna were engaging the enemy. between Bhima and Karna at another and between Arjuna and Jayadratha at a third. but was soon defeated and turned back. Will this wicked enmity end with it and shall we be saved from further cruel destruction?" While thus Yudhishthira was fondly hoping and dreaming of peace. We have seen how Yudhishthira in his anxiety sent first Satyaki and then Bhima to join Arjuna in his battle against Jayadratha.lost eight chariots that day. Hearing that roar. Duryodhana was speaking to Drona: "Arjuna. He will slay the man who caused Abhimanyu's death and will return in triumph. The lives of numerous kings and great warriors have been sacrificed on the field of battle and even the stubborn and narrow-visioned Duryodhana may now see his fault and ask for peace. our battle array should have been broken and our plans completely foiled. Dharmaputra heard the lionroar of Bhima and knew that Arjuna was found alive. Bhima roared like a lion. Yudhishthira heard these roars and. Duryodhana may sue for peace after Jayadratha's death. KARNA AND BHIMA ARJUNA had left Yudhishthira behind to repel Drona's attacks and had gone to make good his word that before sunset Jayadratha would lie dead on the field of battle. bitterly reproached Drona. overpowered and slain. 86. He proceeded mowing down all opposition and reached where Arjuna was fighting Jayadratha's forces. once again. Duryodhana arrived with his forces at the sector where Arjuna attacked Jayadratha." Duryodhana thus. under your command. who replied unperturbed: "Duryodhana. between Satyaki and Bhurisravas at one place. and leading a counter-offensive against them. The battle thus raged long and furiously on more than one front. The armies were so deployed that each side was exposed to danger in its rear. It was the fourteenth day and the battle raged fiercely at many points. As soon as he saw Arjuna. Will this indeed happen? The great grandsire Bhishma has been offered as a sacrifice. Drona remained at the main front resisting the attack of the Panchalas and the Pandavas. Bhima and Satyaki have treated us with contempt and proceeded successfully to Jayadratha's sector and they are pressing hard on the Sindhu king. and thereby caused Abhimanyu to be isolated. Everyone asks how it is that the great Drona with all his mastery of the science of war has been so badly outmaneuvered. Jayadratha had been the main cause of Abhimanyu's death. the battle was raging with great fury where Bhima. His ways are inscrutable. he pronounced blessings on Arjuna. . Krishna and Arjuna were exceedingly pleased and raised yells of joy.

But they have as much reason to be anxious as we. even in the Mahabharata times. Bhima was all anger when taunted in this manner. like the sea on a full moon day. The story of that day's battle between Bhima and Karna reads very much like a chapter from the narrative of a modern war. It is of no avail to dishearten oneself by dwelling on past defeats and difficulties." Puzzled and perplexed. The advantages and risks of such strategy appear to have been fully understood and discussed even in those days." "Sir. Bhima brought before his mind all the insults and injuries which he and his brothers and Draupadi had suffered. When Karna had to run for a fresh chariot. calmly and with graceful ease. Bhima did not desire to fight Karna or remain long engaged with him. Karna would keep at a distance and send his well-aimed shafts but Bhima would disregard the arrows and javelins failing thick upon him and always try to close with Karna. the modern tactics of turning and enveloping movements was not unknown. Tell me what should be done. Give your best consideration to the difficulties of the situation and decide and let us do it quickly. The narrative of the fourteenth day's fighting at Kurukshetra shows that. But he minded them not. Drona replied: "My son. He was eager to reach where Arjuna was. by no means. it is for you to advise me. do not flee like a coward. go up to Jayadratha again. The contrast between the two warriors was striking. . as he attacked Bhima. Arjuna's flanking manoeuvres perplexed his enemies greatly. for their rear is now left as open to attack as ours. we shall be wholly destroyed. Bhima was red with bleeding wounds all over and presented the appearance of an Asoka tree in full blossom. as he attacked Karna cutting bows in twain and smashing his chariot. Three great generals have advanced." "Now. I must keep the Panchalas and Pandava army engaged here.There is nothing to be gained by talking about what is past and beyond repair. outmanoeuvring us. the situation is no doubt serious. Think of what is to be done now. whereas Bhimasena fumed and fretted with impatience. The two cars dashed against each other and the milk white horses of Karna's chariot and Bhimasena's black horses jostled in the combat like clouds in a thunderstorm. He was maddened by Karna's smiles. The battle was fierce but Karna did everything with a smiling air of ease whereas Bhima's face glowed with rage and his movements were violent. permit him to do this. For anger rose in him. We are on both sides of them and their position is not therefore safe. Karna's handsome lotus-like face was radiant with smiles when he attacked Bhima saying: "Do not show your back. thus did Duryodhana plead. Otherwise. there was no smile on his face." Accordingly. He showered his arrows on Bhimasena and stopped him from proceeding. as he showed his amazing strength of limb. Both showed the strength of tigers and the speed of eagles and their anger was now like that of serpents in a fury. Duryodhana went with fresh reinforcements again to where Arjuna was directing his attack on Jayadratha. Radheya did everything he did. Be heartened. and fought desperately. It is best I stay here and send you reinforcements as and when required. caring not for life. But Radheya would. and do all you can to support him." and so on.

But he too at once returned the attack and wounded Bhima all over. Seeing his bleeding body wriggling on the ground like a wounded snake. Again and again did Karna lose his chariot. The sight of so many of Duryodhana's brothers dying for his sake one after another was too much for Karna. Who then can defeat us? Even the gods cannot win a battle against me when Karna is on my side. This. Do not . was desolate. PLEDGE RESPECTED DHRITARASHTRA. Duryodhana saw Karna's plight and calling his brother Durjaya said: "This wicked Pandava will kill Karna. And. I have lost these boys! The fool said: 'Karna. in a rage sent seven shafts which sent Durjaya's horses and his charioteer to the abode of Yama and Durjaya himself fell mortally wounded. hearing of the slaughter of his sons and the check received by Karna. who had taken up a fresh bow. he was again overwhelmed with grief and stood motionless for a while. listening to the words of your foolish and stubborn son? To you indeed must be traced this greater disaster. Duryodhana now sent another brother to relieve Karna. You are now but reaping the fruit of your discarding the advice of Bhishma and the other elders. Bhima. Durmukha's armor was broken and he fell lifeless. Sanjaya. Seeing yet another son of Dhritarashtra come to offer himself up to death. to their doom. Bhima did not stop but continued the fight and greatly harassed Karna. Karna then hurled a javelin at Bhima. my sons are being destroyed. when Bhima stood up on the field of battle red with wounds all over like a flaming fire and emitted a triumphant yell. Karna now stood on the ground with bent bow. king. paying mournful honor to the dead. my son has earned the undying hatred of the son of Vayu. Has he seen wisdom at least now? Alas. is on our side. But. Still the Pandava would not stop and attacked Karna furiously.Karna's bow was shattered and his charioteer reeled and fell. Blame yourself. His sharp arrows pierced Karna's coat of armor and he was in pain. Alas. unrivalled among men for courage and the accomplishment of war. Bhima licked his lips in gusto and sent nine shafts on the newly arrived enemy. and the physical pain of his own wounds made him lose courage and he turned away defeated. like moths falling in the fire. The stubborn Duryodhana has led the lads Durmukha and Durjaya. Bhima relentlessly continued his attack on Karna. But Bhima parried it and continued pouring his arrows on Karna. Durmukha went accordingly and took Karna on his chariot. Karna was overwhelmed with grief and circled round the hero. When Karna saw the warrior bathed in blood and lying dead by his side. he could not brook it but returned to the combat. who has the strength of the god of death! We are indeed ruined!" Sanjaya replied: "O king. He sent well aimed shafts and hit Bhima who in a fury hurled his mace at Karna and it crashed on Karna's chariot and killed his charioteer and horses and broke the flagstaff. "O Sanjaya. Go at once and attack Bhima and save Karna's life. Karna once again had to find a fresh chariot. was it not you who brought about this unquenchable hatred." Durjaya went as ordered and attacked Bhima who. What can these Pandavas do to me?' But now he has seen Karna beating a retreat when Bhimasena attacked him. 87. even as Karna climbed up to take his seat in the chariot.

blame Karna and the brave warriors who have done their best in battle. astonished at the way in which Bhima fought. was beloved of all." After thus admonishing the blind king. struck down by his arrows. Bhimasena at first ignored the sons of Dhritarashtra and concentrated on Karna. Karna was overwhelmed by anguish. When Karna saw so many of the sons of Dhritarashtra sacrificing themselves for him. he was deeply moved and exclaimed: "Alas. But fell one after another. When Karna saw this. He used his bow so as to disarm Karna completely. When Bhima saw him fall dead after a brave fight. But they became so violent in their assault that Bhima got incensed and. Karna's plight caused him extreme anxiety. Charuchitra. slain one after another in this manner. Vikarna. thinking of all the evil that Karna had wrought against the Pandavas. who watched this combat. to relieve Radheya. Sanjaya proceeded to tell him what happened. They gave battle to Bhima displaying great skill and energy. his face was wet with tears and he mounted a fresh chariot and began to attack Bhima with deadly effect. When Karna saw another batch of princes slaughtered for his sake he fought more grimly than ever before. Indeed this battle is a curse upon us wherein men like you and the grandsire Bhishma have had to be slaughtered. disposed of all five of them. They lay dead on the field. he was heartened and turned back to resume his attack. uprooted by a strong wind and lying flat on the ground with their beautiful red blossoms. was greatly grieved and sent seven of his brothers Chitra. Durmarsha. Kesava. Bhurisravas. and sent seven more of his brothers directing them to surround Bhima and attack him simultaneously. Chitraksha." Seeing Duryodhana's brothers. O Vikarna. Dussaha. when they saw Karna put to flight by Bhima at once rushed on the latter. Chitrayudha and Chitravarman. Bhima too was more violent than before. for Bhima's passion was roused and his attack was irresistible. Duryodhana. Five sons of Dhritarashtra. The seven brothers sent by Duryodhana attacked Bhima. Bow after bow was . He leant back on his seat in the chariot and closed his eyes unable to bear the sight. Kripacharya. The young warriors with their bleeding wounds presented the appearance of a forest with trees. Durdhara and Jaya. Salya. Durmata. you were just and knew what was dharma! You fought in loyal obedience to the call of duty. Aswatthama. Satyaki and Arjuna were filled with admiration and joy as they watched Bhima fighting. Karna now jumped down from his chariot and hurled his mace at Bhima. I had to kill even you. His horses and charioteer were also laid low. who was killed last. He feared Bhima would kill Radheya that day. Sarasana. turning his attentions on them. Duryodhana was stung to the quick and burned with anger. The two combatants clashed like clouds in a thunderstorm. with their horses and their charioteers. But fell dead one after another. who came to help him. Jayadratha and many other warriors of the Kaurava army also broke into exclamations. But Bhima warded it off with shafts from his powerful bow and covered Karna with a shower of arrows and forced him to turn back and walk on foot. Upachitra. Then recovering control over his emotions he hardened his heart and began again his attack on Bhima.

he fought Drona with increased vigor. Then. Eighteen times he had to take up a fresh bow. He bent his Gandiva bow and discharged his arrows on Karna who then gladly turned his attentions from Bhima to Arjuna. Bhima." replied Arjuna." There was a family feud between Bhurisravas and Satyaki that made them inveterate foes. Bhima lost his horses and charioteer. wheels of broken chariots. in a fit of uncontrollable rage. He picked up anything he could lay hands upon. he made the helpless Bhima burn with rage. Instead. But Karna broke the shield at once with his shafts. he has come here. He had pledged his word to Kunti not to kill more than one of the Pandavas and he reserved that option for the great Arjuna. who was to be the blessed mother of Sri Krishna." "I do not like it. "It was not right for him to have left Dharmaputra and come here to join me. and hurling them at Karna. why do you engage yourself in battle here? Go to the jungle and fill yourself with fruits and roots and grow fat. Yudhishthira now heard Bhima's roar rise above the tumult of battle. and it cut Karna's bow into two and fell on the ground. Karna said exultingly: "Foolish glutton. he used the elephants lying dead on the ground to protect himself from Karna's arrows and continued the fight. Madhava. "There. Drona is there ever seeking an opportunity to seize Dharmaputra. but mindful of his word to Kunti. Dhananjaya's eyes burned red with wrath. SOMADATTA'S END "THERE comes the valorous Satyaki. Thereupon. refrained from killing him. and heartened by it. Karna had long ago discarded his smile and his face showed savage anger even as Bhima's. Bhima whirled his sword and hurled it. But this could not long continue and Bhima was soon at a great disadvantage. It was a great mistake for Yudhishthira to have sent Satyaki away here." said Krishna. Soon his chariot also was smashed to pieces. kept him engaged without interval. sprang upon Karna. Bhima jumped out of Karna's car down into the field of battle where. Radheya took cover behind his flagstaff and escaped destruction. Bhima advanced with sword and shield. 88. to Dhananjaya. "Your disciple and friend is marching up. Arjuna! See how poor Bhima is being harassed by Karna. It had come about this way. many princes competed for her hand and there was a great battle between Somadatta and Sini over it. when he saw the plight of his valiant brother. Old Bhurisravas has intercepted Satyaki. Since that incident there was feud . Get away!" Hurling insulting taunts at him." said Krishna. the charioteer. You are a savage. But Karna took up yet another bow and assailed Bhima with arrows more fiercely than before. When Devaki. and on behalf of Vasudeva he placed Devaki in his chariot and took her away. was a maiden. They now glared fiercely at each other as they fought. Then. In the renewed and fierce battle between Bhima and Karna. the limbs of horses and elephants that were lying about. you do not know the science of war.broken up by Bhimasena's shaft. Bhima hurled his spear at Karna who was in his chariot and as Karna parried it with his shaft. Satyaki should have stuck to his post there to guard him. triumphantly breaking through enemy ranks. but Karna kept the battle. deprived of all arms. Sini won. not fit for kshatriya battle.

Arjuna replied with a shower of arrows. "Words are not deeds and do not frighten fighting men." Bhurisravas caught hold of the prostrate Satyaki and dragged him o the ground as n a lion drags its elephant prey. and the combat was as between two fierce lions. till their shields were hacked to bits and their swords broken.between the two clans. as soon as Bhurisravas saw Satyaki. Krishna again pressed Arjuna to consider Satyaki's condition. Satyaki has lost all his weapons and he is now in Bhurisravas' power. But his charioteer Krishna was deeply concerned about Satyaki's fate. Bhurisravas was Somadatta's son." he interrupted. he saw Bhurisravas with his foot on the prostrate body of Satyaki and sword upraised to slay him. "O Partha. "Have done with your vaunting. "Satyaki who came after an exhausting battle with the Kaurava forces has been forced to accept Bhurisravas' challenge. You are looking on. "Dhananjaya. Their horses were killed. helpless. the old warrior challenged Satyaki to battle. One who came to help you." After this exchange of words. "Bhurisravas has not been called to battle by me. Here now I have you in my power and will presently finish you." Still Arjuna was following only Jayadratha's movements. is being killed before your eyes. the sky was darkened by a cloud of arrows sent by Jayadratha." Satyaki laughed. doing nothing. you will die today and go to the abode of Yama. the battle began. "It is a most unequal battle." said Krishna again. it was natural that. Demonstrate your valor in action and do not indulge in dry thunder like autumn clouds. Arjuna was in a great conflict of mind. gladdening the hearts of many a bereaved widow. When they found themselves on opposite sides in the Kurukshetra battle. How can I send my shaft at Bhurisravas when he is engaged with another? My mind recoils from such an act. They fell down again and so the combat went on for a long while. Bhurisravas is going to kill him now. Then they were locked in a deadly embrace without weapons. and both were rendered chariotless. beloved Yuyudhana will be slain." Even as Krishna was saying this." cried Bhurisravas. nor has he challenged me to fight. the Sini family and that of Somadatta. Like Indrajit destroyed Dasaratha's son Lakshmana. They leaped up and they sprang on each other. Bhurisravas lifted Satyaki up and brought him crashing to the ground and all the men around in the Kaurava army exclaimed: "Yuyudhana is dead!" Again Krishna importuned: "Satyaki is lying almost dead on the field. Unless we help him. Partha's mind was at the time concentrated on Jayadratha's movements and he did not watch this combat between Satyaki and the son of Somadatta." said Krishna." Just as Arjuna finished saying this to Krishna. "I know you strut about thinking yourself a man of great prowess. but he constantly turned with pain to where Satyaki was in the mortal grip of Bhurisravas. They rolled together on the ground. although it is true a friend who came to help me is being slaughtered before my eyes." When Arjuna turned. the best among the Vrishni clan. Satyaki was Sini's grandson. For Krishna knew about their family feud. Long have I sought for this meeting. They were now standing on the ground fighting with swords and shields. "Oh Satyaki. . their bows were broken. "Satyaki is exhausted.

bitterly denounce Krishna and Arjuna in the Kurukshetra field." After saying this to the warriors in the field who reproached him. one who was like a right hand to me.Before Bhurisravas could deliver the fatal thrust. Arjuna shot an arrow which went with the speed of lightning and the next moment the uplifted arm fell chopped off to the ground still holding the sword. How could I look on doing nothing. There is no justice in blaming me. You must have been instigated into it by the son of Vasudeva. was challenged by you to give battle. I know you have been incited to it by that contemptible Krishna. Arjuna? Did you learn this from your father Indra or from your teachers Drona and Kripa? What code of conduct was it that permitted you to shoot your arrow at a man who was engaged in combat with another and could not so much as turn his eyes on you? You have done the deed of a low-bred fellow and foully besmirched your honor. before my eyes. If you like. Why do you blame me? It is not right to hurl reproaches without due thought. what account are you going to give him of this valorous deed. Indeed. he lay on the ground. Dhananjaya. They cheered Bhurisravas and uttered reproaches against Krishna and Arjuna. You overcame him." Thus did Bhurisravas with his right arm cut off. You say. You know that what has happened is due to your own error. let us all blame the violence which governs kshatriya life. Said Partha: "Bhurisravas. I have been ruined by keeping company with Madhava. then. It is my sacred pledge. Arjuna spoke: "Brave men. who came and risked his life in battle on my behalf. and whom you were going to stab when he was lying helpless on the ground? I would have deserved to go to hell if I had failed to intervene. when. you have protected many who have gone to you for help. Bhurisravas. The old warrior sat in yoga and the sight deeply moved all the Kaurava soldiers. Ah! Who taught you this low trick." Bhurisravas. No one with princely blood in his veins would think of such a dastardly deed. Satyaki now recovered consciousness and rose. "Son of Kunti. What code of honor enabled you to raise your sword to thrust it into the body of the fallen warrior and slay him? Do I not remember how you cheered the man who killed my boy Abhimanyu when he stood staggering. you are old and age seems to have affected your judgment. It was not in your own nature to do it. Who in the wide world would not wish to be so ruined? You have spoken out of confused understanding. turned and saw who had done it." he exclaimed. Satyaki who was weary and exhausted when he came here and who was inadequately armed. lowered his head in salutation. he turned to Bhurisravas and said: "O excellent among brave men. as your unchivalrous conduct proves. exhausted and weaponless. powerless. no man can resist the evil influence of the company he keeps. Having been defeated. You accuse Hrishikesa and me without cause. I am sworn to protect every friend within bow-shot of me and I cannot let an enemy kill him. Carried away by the impetuosity of . all amazed. when you go back to your brother Dharmaputra. "I had not expected this of you! It befits not a warrior to shoot from behind in this manner. you were in the act of killing my friend. who heard this. his coat of armor torn off?" Bhurisravas who heard this did not answer but spread his arrows on the ground with his left hand and made a seat for meditation. I was engaged in combat with someone else and you have attacked me without notice.

Satyaki took his place in it. Satyaki maintained he was right. It seems my stars are now in the ascendant. he picked up a sword and. Karna had to run and climb up into Duryodhana's chariot. The slaying of Bhurisravas is one of the many situations of moral conflict woven into the story of the Mahabharata to demonstrate that. Then the flagstaff was cut asunder and the chariot was smashed. sitting in yoga on his seat of arrows. the destruction of the Pandavas is certain and this kingdom will be ours in unquestioned and absolute sovereignty. while the body was still in the posture of meditation. so that before sunset he could break through to Jayadratha. . The whole thing depends on you. and am so weary that my limbs have no power in them. Dhananjaya swore this impossible oath in a moment of thoughtlessness. Arjuna was engaged in a great attack on the Kaurava army and putting forth all his strength. There is not a fourth to match them!" Arjuna broke through the Kaurava opposition and reached Jayadratha. I may slay him in whatever posture he might choose to be. for not having redeemed his oath. Aswatthama. "If before nightfall this day Jayadratha is not slain. Karna. this enemy of my family placed his foot on my prostrate figure and attempted to kill me. and attacked Karna vigorously and skilfully. and all the great wrongs inflicted by the Kauravas. Arjuna fought with fury. Daruka's mastery of driving and Satyaki's archery were such as brought down the gods to witness the combat. Within the little time left before nightfall. Your great skill in battle is on trial today. When it came. even when all around were shouting in horror and before Krishna and Arjuna." When Karna and Duryodhana were thus planning. Krishna put his Panchajanya in his mouth and blew a loud note in the rishabha swara. See the sun has sloped down in the west. JAYADRATHA SLAIN "THE decisive hour has come. he struck off the old warrior's head which rolled down. Prove yourself this day. Salya." said Duryodhana." But none approved of his conduct. 89. who rushed to the spot. advancing to Bhurisravas. I shall put forth all the strength that is in me. I only live to serve you. uttered blessings on Bhurisravas." "My king. Everyone in the field condemned Satyaki's act. We should not let this opportunity slip. The great Karna stood chariotless and the event produced a great flutter in the Kaurava army. Partha and Satyaki. keeping him fully engaged. You. and I must guard Jayadratha and do all we can to see that he does not fall into Arjuna's hands during the next few hours before sunset.his passion. Sanjaya here tells Dhritarashtra to whom he was relating the incident: "The greatest adepts in archery are Krishna. could prevent him. because the gods had willed it that he should be thus destroyed by his own hand. Inflamed by the thought of the slaughter of Abhimanyu. saying: "After I fell down senseless. The gods and the siddhas. We must see somehow that his challenge fails. Still. I do not think it possible for Partha to reach Jayadratha. codes of honor and dharma are powerless to control them. With Arjuna's death. with one swift and powerful cut. which was the signal for his own charioteer Daruka to arrive at once with his chariot. Karna's four chariot horses were disabled and the charioteer was unseated. when hatred and anger have been roused. who looked on from above the battlefield." Karna replied "I have been wounded all over by Bhimasena. Kripa. Arjuna will be disgraced and he will kill himself.

strength. Both of them gave up their lives on the Kurukshetra battlefield. The attack on Jayadratha began and the battle raged long. who felt as if Death had come to the battlefield with wide-open jaws. Both sides were constantly looking westwards. It was nightfall. Abhimanyu." said Duryodhana to himself in great glee. The vow is unfulfilled and Arjuna is going to be disgraced. for the day was nearing its end. Dhananjaya.Savyasachin as he was. when his son's head with beautiful black hair and golden earrings gently dropped into his lap. now using one hand and now the other. They are Arjuna's son. Arjuna's strength and skill were hard put to it. Bhimasena's famous son by his asura wife. Do your work." A shaft flew from the Gandiva bow. Bhima. the hatred roused on ." The Pandavas were depressed and there were shouts of joy in the Kaurava army." cried Krishna. fortitude. and amiability. Vriddhakshatra was in his ashrama sitting in the open absorbed in his evening meditation with eyes closed. Then. but on the fourteenth day of the battle the rule of cease-fire at sunset was not observed. one by one the rules and restraints broke down. "send your shafts in swift relays. It seems Jayadratha has been saved and Arjuna's challenge has failed. The old king finished his meditation and got up. but the battle did not cease. I have caused this darkness. Jayadratha turned to the western horizon and thought within himself. The Saindhava was no mean foe. At that moment. Arjuna has lost. Kesava. As the passions rose from day to day. Ghatotkacha. Towards the latter part of the Mahabharata fight. The sun sank towards the horizon and reddened. And. Vriddhakshatra's head burst into a hundred fragments. however. It is only the poet of the Mahabharata that can describe the combat that raged between Arjuna and Aswatthama and the other great warriors that protected the king of Sindhu. This is the moment for it. and taxed to the full. carried away Jayadratha's head. and Bhima's son. for Jayadratha is off his guard. Jayadratha and his father together reached the abode of the brave. They fought fiercely but were all defeated and could not prevent Arjuna from reaching Jayadratha. Satyaki. Yudhishthira led his army fiercely against Drona. 90. Krishna said to Arjuna: "Dhananjaya. "There is but a very little time left. when the head rolled down and fell on the ground. courage. He struck terror and confusion among his enemies. as ordained. Then." And Arjuna sent his wonderful arrows that carried away the head in the air. so that the head may be supported from falling to the earth and borne into Vriddhakshatra's lap. there was darkness and the cry went round in both armies: "It is sunset and Jayadratha has not been killed. It was a strange sight. DRONA PASSES AWAY ALL those who have heard the story of the Mahabharata know about Ghatotkacha. and. Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas blew their conchs and Dharmaraja who heard the triumphant noise knew that it meant that Arjuna had redeemed his oath and that the Saindhava had been slain. the Sindhu raja is looking at the horizon. "Listen. The sun is still up and has not set. "I am saved!" for he did not see the sun then and thought the time-limit of danger from Arjuna was over. There are two young men among the Mahabharata figures who embody all the qualities of heroism. he discharged shafts from the Gandiva bow. Arjuna. like a vulture swooping down on a chicken.

On the fourteenth day. as he could not bring himself to tell a lie. until then. Karna. Drona spread fear and destruction in the Pandava army by his relentless attacks. having just been wounded by one of the asura's arrows. There is but one thing that will make him desist from fighting. the like of which had not been seen before in Bharatadesa. in disregard of the rules of fairplay. The battle did not stop. They knocked against his very heart. dropped dead. had never done or even contemplated an ignoble act. After killing the elephant Aswatthama. "I shall bear the burden of this sin. but at great cost. But it could be used only once. found darkness an additional advantage and violently attacked Duryodhana's army." said Krishna. He had with him no doubt the spear of unerring effect which Indra had given to him. Bhima lifted his iron mace and brought it down on the head of a huge elephant called Aswatthama and it fell dead. If he hears that Aswatthama is dead. greatly ashamed. now did Yudhishthira decide to bear the shame of it. "Kill this fellow at once. Rama was driven to bear the sin of killing Vali. when the sunset. Someone must therefore tell Drona that Aswatthama has been slain. and he had carefully husbanded it for exclusive use on Arjuna with whom a decisive encounter he knew was inevitable. with thousands of torches burning and using signals specially devised for nighttime. is it true my . hurled the missile at the young giant. So also. We have no other way open. did not Rudra come forward to swallow it and save them? To save the friend who had wholly depended on him. We cannot cope with him unless dharma is discarded." Arjuna shrank in horror at the proposal. plunging the Pandavas in grief." he said and resolved the deadlock! It was strange. "O Arjuna.both sides did not find satisfaction in battle conducted during the daytime and close at nightfall. impelled by a sudden urge. was. The generals and soldiers on both sides were engaged in battle. Yudhishthira stood for a while reflecting deeply. for there was no other way. for otherwise. Ghatotkacha and his troops of asuras who are strongest at night. But when the ocean was churned at the beginning of the world and the dread poison rose threatening to consume the gods. Those who were nearby with him also rejected the idea. Drona will lose all interest in life and throw down his weapons. Karna. soon our whole army will cease to be. they did not cease fighting but went on with it in torchlight. for no one was minded to be a party to deceit. "Yudhishthira. Thus was Arjuna saved. But in the confusion and wrath of that eerie midnight melee. "there is none that can defeat this Drona. but could they be true? Drona heard these words as he was in the act of discharging a Brahmastra. Duryodhana's heart sank within him when he saw thousands of his men destroyed by Ghatotkacha and his demon army moving in the air and attacking in weird and unexpected ways. Finish him without further delay. Bhima's beloved son. "I have killed Aswatthama!" Bhimasena who. who from mid-air was showering his deadly arrows on the Kaurava army. Karna was himself angry and bewildered. The Kurukshetra field presented a strange sight." Thus begged all the perplexed Kauravas of Karna. as he uttered these words. fighting according to the strict rules of war. Bhimasena went near the division commanded by Drona and roared so that all might hear. Ghatotkacha.

"Aswatthama. and shamelessly undertaken the profession of killing. dramas and pictures. "O king. The acharya thought that Yudhishthira would not utter an untruth. When the words of untruth came out of Yudhishthira's mouth. It was our misfortune that you descended to this sinful life. Drona's Brahmastra is of unquenchable potency and the Pandavas will be destroyed. Yet. the hero passes through dangers and difficulties and finally marries a woman whom he loves. This book. it is true that Aswatthama has been killed. and said aloud: "Yes. Behind the story of errors and sorrows the poet enables us to have a vision of the Transcendent Reality. he felt again the disgrace of it and added in a low and tremulous voice. even for the kingship of the three worlds. earthy. the wheels of his chariot." he said. When Drona heard that his beloved son had been slain. exciting scenes are enacted. as he was saying it. thus was a great sin committed." But. but within him also was the desire to win. When Drona asked thus." These taunts of Bhimasena caused excruciating pain to Drona who had already lost the will to live. Thus it is that the Mahabharata. which until then always stood and moved four inches above the ground and never touched it at once came down and touched the earth. If you brahmanas had not gone astray from the duties belonging to you by birth. In modern novels. When the veteran was in that mood. And Yudhishthira himself stood trembling in horror of what he was about to do. You teach that non-killing is the highest dharma and that the brahmana is the supporter and nourisher of that dharma. is altogether different from tales and romances. "Let it be my sin.son has been slain?" Dronacharya asked addressing Dharmaputra. Bhimasena loudly spoke indicting him in harsh words: "You brahmanas. all his attachment to life snapped. abandoning the legitimate functions of your varna and taking to the Kshatriya profession of arms. the elephant" words which were however drowned in the din and were not heard by Drona. suddenly became of the earth. have brought ruin to princes. while relating the events of the battle to him. Krishna was terribly perturbed." said Sanjaya to the blind Dhritarashtra. though a story. The Mahabharata is a great and wonderful story. At this moment Dhrishtadyumna with drawn sword. who till then had stood apart from the world so full of untruth. we are lost." he said to himself and hardened his heart. The sorrows of human life are painted with sublime beauty and rolled out in a grand panorama. And the soul of the son of Bharadwaja issued out in a visible blaze of fight and mounted heavenwards. the princes would not have been led to this destruction. And desire vanished as if it had never been there. "If Yudhishthira fails us now and shrinks from uttering an untruth. He too desired victory and slipped into the way of untruth and so his chariot came down to the common road of mankind. Yudhishthira. He threw his weapons away and sat down in yoga on the floor of his chariot and was soon in a trance. has come to be a book of dharma. came and climbed in to the chariot and heedless of cries of horror and deprecation from all around he fulfilled his destiny as the slayer of Drona by sweeping off the old warrior's head. Or else everything seems to go on happily but suddenly things go . you have rejected that wisdom which is yours by birth. in style and substance.

Bhimasena tore Duhsasana's arm out and threw the bleeding limb on the battlefield. The sacrificial fire is ready." "What? Did you not hear the words that the stubborn Bhima uttered when like a ravening beast. "Do not flinch. After the great Duhsasana's death. and win eternal glory on earth or the soldier's heaven!" At these words. Saying thus. and we are finally lifted above both and taken to the Transcendent and Real. When Duryodhana stands quivering in despair. "I have this wretch now safe in my hands. "The oath I swore against this great sinner has been redeemed. our inner being is seized and cleansed. Beloved friend. Karna stood up in his gorgeous war chariot driven by Salya. let him come forward and try!" Glaring hatefully at Duryodhana as he roared this challenge. Too long has my oath waited for performance. "It does not befit you to show any sign that may be mistaken for fear. THE DEATH OF KARNA WHEN Drona died. seek single combat with Arjuna. the army's hope rests solely on you. "Wicked beast. 91. Arjuna led the attack on Karna. Karna recovered his courageous spirit. "Let us terminate this disastrous enmity." The scene made everyone shudder. he drank human blood and danced over my brother's mangled body? What talk can there be now of peace? Why do you speak vain words!" said Duryodhana. supported by Bhimasena immediately behind his chariot. and gave the command for attack. "Enough of fighting. "I have done it!" he roared. If there be any here wishing to help you. Bhima chuckled and said to himself. Even great Karna was shaken as he saw Bhima in this ecstasy of wrath. He sucked and drank the blood from his enemy's body like a beast of prey and danced on the bloody field. Readers of the stars were consulted and the Pandavas chose the propitious hour for grim battle." said Aswatthama addressing Duryodhana earnestly. it is not right that you also should lose heart. The son of Surya sent a dazzling arrow. Duhsasana made a concentrated attack on Bhima and sent a shower of arrows at him." said Salya to Karna. It only remains to redeem my oath as regards Duryodhana. so to say. Let that victim also prepare. And then he fulfilled the terrible oath he had taken thirteen years before. Then followed a great battle. This is the art scheme of ordinary sensational stories. is this the wretched hand that held Draupadi by the hair? Here. I tear out the root from your body. which spat .wrong and terrible misfortune happens and the curtain drops. hurled him down and broke his limbs. make peace with the Pandavas. he ordered a fresh disposition of the forces. he bade Salya drive the chariot towards Arjuna. by being passed alternately through joys and sorrows. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are quite a different kind of artistic creation. You must now bear the full burden. the princes of the Kaurava army installed Karna as Generalissimo. the anger within him blazed up uncontrollably and throwing down all his weapons. I shall today redeem my promise to Draupadi. When we read them. he jumped from his chariot and leapt upon Duhsasana like a tiger on its prey. With eyes red with wrath and unshed tears. The battle again began. mad with passion. Stop the battle. The dauntless confidence of his bearing and his great renown as a warrior heartened the Kauravas." As Bhima thus bethought himself of what Duhsasana had done to Draupadi. Like the gallant warrior you are.

"Waste no more time. was that chivalry? Wicked man.fire and made for Arjuna. Karna silently ascended the chariot leaving the wheel still stuck in the mud and took his bow and sent an arrow at Arjuna with unerring aim and such power that it stunned him for a moment. Where had your fairplay hidden itself then? Was it fairplay to refuse to give to Yudhishthira his kingdom when according to the pledge the twelve years of forest life and the thirteenth year incognito were duly completed? What had happened to the dharma you appeal for now? You conspired with the wicked men who sought to poison and kill Bhima. for you have never honored them!" When Krishna was denouncing him in this manner in order to urge Arjuna to prompt action. And Karna's fated hour was come. at the nick of time. The wheel would not budge. What had happened to dharma all that time? What did dharma tell you when violent hands were laid on Draupadi and you were looking on enjoying the sight? Did you not then mock at her saying: 'Your husbands have left you unprotected. pressed the vehicle down five fingers deep in the mud. Then he tried to recall the mantras of mighty astras he had learnt from Parasurama. Karna utilised the respite won. "My chariot has sunk in the ground." Arjuna's mind was wavering. and knowing dharma as you do. He jumped down on the ground to lift the wheel up from the mud. Great warrior as you are. who was fond of play but was unskilled at it. "Wait a minute!" he cried. and you cheated him." Arjuna hesitated. Krishna intervened. Chivalry indeed! When a mob of you surrounded the young Abhimanyu and shamelessly slew him. but his memory failed in the hour of his need. to jump down again and hurriedly tried to lift the chariot wheel up. He remembered the curse that had been pronounced on him. go and marry another husband'? The tongue that was not ashamed to utter those words now talks of chivalry. Arjuna. Karna!" be exclaimed. the left wheel of his chariot suddenly sank in the bloody mire. But the curse was too strong for him and fortune had deserted the great warrior. like a serpent with its flaming double-tongue out. do not talk now of chivalry and fairplay. you remember them indeed. His hand hesitated to do what was not chivalrous. and as had been foretold. Karna bent his head in shame and uttered not a word. Karna was now somewhat perturbed on account of the mishap. the poet says: "Arjuna accepted this command of the . "Send your shaft and slay your wicked enemy. even as Parasurama had foretold. Then Krishna. how was it you forgot them utterly? You helped to inveigle Dharmaputra. so that the serpent shaft just missed Partha's head but struck off his helmet! Arjuna was red with shame and anger and he fixed a dart on his bow to make an end of Karna. you would certainly not take unfair advantage of this accident. Arjuna's charioteer. though he strove with all his great strength. "Ha. But when you and Duryodhana and Duhsasana and Sakuni dragged Draupadi to the Hall of Assembly and insulted her. You acquiesced in the plot to burn the Pandavas alive when sleeping in the palace of wax into which they had been lured. and again appealed to Arjuna's sense of honor. "it is well that you too remember that there are things like fairplay and chivalry! Now that you are in difficulty. I shall presently set my car right and give you all the battle you want. But when Krishna said this." cried Madhava. to gamble.

the wreck of the broken army scattered and fled in all directions. The surviving sons of Dhritarashtra. Like the great flagstaff at the end of a festive function. out of . any longer continue this ruinous fight. DURYODHANA WHEN Duryodhana beheld Karna's death. but Duryodhana still lives." and smiled grimly. conducted through physical force leads to numerous wrongs and. 92. the blood of our dearest and theirs? If I surrender in order to escape death. The battle was equal for a long while. his grief knew no bounds. Do not. here is the reward for your great sin. his spear that went straight and struck him. It was the Lord Krishna that incited Arjuna to kill Karna when he was vainly trying to raise his chariot out of the mud in which it had stuck. The army was arrayed under his leadership and the battle raged fiercely. "Perhaps. Kripacharya was deeply moved by Duryodhana's anguish of heart and said: "Moved by ambition and greed we placed too great a burden on friends. O King. Salya's body lay lifeless on the field. who was till then the very incarnation of gentle ness." It went straight and cut through Sakuni's neck like a sword. Left leaderless. it was wholly wrong. crimson with blood. in the net result. They have uncomplainingly borne it and laid down their lives on the battlefield and attained the happy regions above. Yudhishthira now led the attack personally against Salya. fought so furiously. the Kaurava army lost all hope. Sakuni led the attack on Sahadeva's division. the last of the great generals." The poet had not the heart to impute this act to Arjuna who was the embodiment of nobility.Lord and sent an arrow which cut and severed the head of the Radheya. secured by a peace after my brothers and relatives have all been slain?" These words of Duryodhana were lustily cheered by the others. which was at the root of all the wicked deeds of the Kauravas. And the head. adharma increases. They supported his stand and they chose Salya and gave him the supreme command from then on. joined together and attacked Bhima from all sides. Salya was mighty of limb and as brave as any of the warriors who had been killed. He said to himself now: "I have not lived in vain. "'Thus utterly was destroyed thine army of eleven Akshauhinis. There is but one course left to you to make peace with the Pandavas. when Yudhishthira hurled at Salya. but it is long past. The battle for right. What talk can there be of peace between the Pandavas and us with all this inexpiable blood between us. pursued and slaughtered to a man by the exulting victors. On the side of the Pandavas. Duryodhana did not relish this counsel. through physical violence and war. fell dead. When Salya. He slew them all. According to the code of honor and laws of war prevailing then. there was a time for that. It astonished everyone to see how the man. O! Bharata. Sahadeva discharged a sharp-edged sword-arrow saying: "Fool. however. to put down wrong. how can I escape the contempt of the world? What happiness can I hope to have in a life so ignobly saved? And what joy can I hope to find in sovereignty." Even at that moment of deep despair. Who could bear the responsibility for breaches of dharma except the Lord Himself? The lesson is that it is vanity to hope. After a while. rolled on the ground. The son of Vayu had nourished his burning anger for thirteen years from the time Draupadi was insulted in the Hall of Assembly.

the memory of the great outrage came vividly to his mind. Duryodhana and Bhima were equal in strength and skill. you say we may take it all." Stepping out of the pool. Krishna said to Arjuna that Bhima would redeem the oath he swore in the Hall of Assembly and smash Duryodhana's thighs. would you yourself escape death by concealing yourself in this pond? Where is your pride now? Have you no shame? Come up and fight. here said: "When your son Duryodhana heard these harsh and cruel words spoken by Dharmaputra. and water attracted him. fainting and sore wounded. one by one. Wear your coat of armor. I neither fear death nor wish to live. the combat began between Bhima and Duryodhana. His whole frame was burning like fire. mace in hand. a fugitive for my life. were debating as to whom would win. Enjoy it in undisputed sovereignty. It was not fear that brought me here. "The wise Vidura knew what would happen and he told us. weary and wounded all over. pursuit of their great enemy. Choose any of us you like and fight. "after destroying family and tribe. in vain. Of what avail is wisdom that comes too late? What has been done must produce its result that has to be suffered." Yudhishthira replied: "Now. standing all alone amidst your crowd? Yes. You five will surely not join together and attack me who am alone and without armor. they see and preach dharma and chivalry to others." Sanjaya. and the issue hung doubtful. A kshatriya by birth. Duryodhana replied with dignity: "I have not come here. pray tell us how Abhimanyu was attacked and killed? Did you not consent to many combining and attacking that boy. Duryodhana. He leaped like a lion and came down with his mace on Duryodhana's thighs and broke them and Duryodhana fell heavily on the ground. "Duryodhana!" exclaimed Yudhishthira. Yudhishthira and his brothers arrived there in relentless." Accordingly. After doing. who espoused thy cause in their pride and might.the thousands of kings. Must I recount all your sins? The wrongs you did us. the unfortunate Duryodhana said: "Come. When we begged for peace and entreated you to give us a portion. when men face misfortune. Die and go to swarga or win and be king. and the battle raged long. especially after you said you would not allow us even a needle-point of land. Sparks of fire flew when their maces clashed. Bhima heard this and. Those. you spurned our proposal. who stood watching. cannot be expiated except with your life. at that moment. that is really generous. Now. as he entered the water." he said to himself. do you shrink battle and death?" Stung to the quick by these words. My desire for kingdom is gone. describing the debacle to the blind king. wounded to death. That is the law." said Sanjaya. who related the events to the blind old king." Yudhishthira replied sharply: "If indeed it be wrong for many to join together and attack a single person. I stepped into the water to cool the fire that is raging within me. I leave the world to you without a rival. Dharmaputra. all of you. left almost alone. only Duryodhana could be seen on that battlefield. . and the outrage you perpetrated on Draupadi. all he could to rally his defeated army. he at once rose from the water. It is not for kingdom or land that we fight. took up his mace and walked towards a pool of water. but why should I fight? The earth has now nothing left that I came to fight for! All those who stood by me have been slain. for I am single.

have been mine. "vainly do you accuse others. shouted: "You can look on and tolerate all this. Dying. Bhima. "You have paid off the debt. your objects defeated and yourselves the object of contempt of all kshatriyas. flowers were showered down from the heavens by the gods. The plough was Balarama's weapon on supreme occasions. Have you not a spark of shame left?" Even dying. All human joys. in their fullness. the face of the fallen Duryodhana glowed like a blazing fire with anger and hatred. stamped on his head with his heavy foot and danced a terrible dance. You should. I was a great prince. "Cease. I do not mind Bhima putting his foot on my head as I lie helpless on the ground with legs broken. It is not right to put your foot on his head. Turning his eyes towards Krishna be said: "By base tricks you contrived the death of warriors. Inordinate desire took Duryodhana into the wrong path. Sons of Pandu. take . intercepting him. said: "The Pandavas are our friends and closest relations. What care I? In a few minutes more will not the feet of crows and vultures settle on my head?" When Duryodhana said this. THE PANDAVAS REPROACHED WHEN the war was nearing its end. Balarama arrived at Kurukshetra after completing his tour of holy places. whence ensued anger and numerous breaches of dharma. He saw Bhima aiming the deadly blow which broke Duryodhana's thighs." cried Dharmaraja. "Duryodhana. When Draupadi was insulted in the Assembly Hall. He came just when Bhima and Duryodhana were engaged in their last mortal combat. A warrior's death is the fitting crown of such a life. He rushed forward and. I go triumphantly to swarga to join my friends and my brothers who have gone there already and are waiting to welcome me. They have been the victims of insufferable wrongs at the hands of Duryodhana." said Krishna. Duryodhana felt no regret for all that he had done. as the discus was Krishna's. Krishna was alarmed when he saw his elder brother advancing in a passion towards Bhima. such joys as kings wish for in vain. But no one could question the unconquerable spirit of Dhritarashtra's son." When Krishna said this. 93. Do not let your anger mislead you and do not be unjust to the innocent Pandavas. "Fie upon you all! Would any kshatriya hit below the navel? This Bhima has offended the law most disgracefully. who fought bravely according to the laws of war. and even Gods do not despise. You remain here below. You could not have dreamt of victory in a fair fight with Karna or Bhishma or Drona. Greed and pride of power led you to unnumbered wicked deeds and you are reaping as you sowed." "Wretch!" replied Duryodhana. generous friend. "Living. Duryodhana is a prince and a cousin." Said Krishna:"Soon the wicked man's soul will depart from the body. and a terrible foe. Duryodhana and his friends have been slain. before condemning Bhima. But I cannot bear to see such unclean fighting!" Saying this he advanced towards the offending Bhima with upraised plough.' He proclaimed this solemn oath at that time and everyone has known it. It is the duty of a kshatriya to fulfil the vow he has solemnly taken. Bhima vowed: 'I will one day in battle break the two thighs of Duryodhana with this mace and kill him.Bhima jumped on the prostrate body of his enemy. Why linger here? On to your chariots." he exclaimed and impatiently going up to his brother Krishna. and his anger flamed up at this great breach of the rules of single combat.

was silent. When men transgress the law. Nor did he say anything by way of detraction. and don't wish to blame him beyond reason. agony. were however loud in condemnation of Duryodhana and were reminding one another of all his misdeeds and errors. Arjuna. I hate to stay here any longer. Duryodhana thought evil and practised deception from the time of his birth and has brought about the destruction of his people. when he stood all by himself in the field. How can you think that it was wrong for Bhima to do this?" Krishna's words did not change Balarama's opinion. He did not show approval of Bhima's act. I know the full measure of grief and anger in Vrikodara's heart." Duryodhana. It will be said among men that the son of Pandu broke the laws of war in attacking Duryodhana. and in a most cowardly manner. who was afflicted by uncontained greed and poverty of understanding. killed him. went into a paroxysm of rage. when the laws of a previous age cannot apply. deprived of bow and chariot. We have killed Duryodhana. Duryodhana knew well that Bhima had sworn to break his thighs and kill him. who was stretched on the ground in intense. "O Madhava. it hurts me to see Bhima leap on cousin Duryodhana's mortally wounded body and trample on his head. You cannot snatch a particular act out of its context and proceed to give judgment on it alone without gross injustice. It was because of Duryodhana's foul instigation that Karna sent a shaft from behind and broke Abhimanyu's bowstring when he was defending himself against heavy odds. Bhima bore the wrongs done and kept his wrath within himself for thirteen long years. Nothing but error can result if one proceeds to judge conduct without taking into account the chain of events leading up to it. and exclaimed: "Wretch! Son of a slave! Was not your father Vasudeva Kamsa's slave? You have . Let us go. It will remain forever a great blot on his good name. I see the end of the glory of our race. when he heard Krishna say this. He was stupid and brought about his own end. The era of Kali has arrived. We should not speak ill of a dying man. There is no sin in Bhima killing this man. why this strange silence?" asked Krishna. The rest of the people. Arjuna's young son was attacked by numerous warriors who surrounded him. extenuations and excuses are of no avail in giving mental satisfaction." So saying the indignant Balarama immediately left for Dwaraka. "Duryodhana will attain the happy regions reserved for the brave. who were there. He fell into the company of bad men and was ruined. When he challenged the aggrieved Pandavas to battle. but his anger subsided. We were wronged by the Kauravas. What serves it now to debate the ethics of it or nicely to weigh the propriety of a much wronged man's revenges?" Yudhishthira was greatly oppressed in mind. Krishna turned towards them and said: "Warriors. He half raised himself on his arms in spite of the excruciating pain. of penetrating intellect. "Yudhishthira. it is not proper that we go on speaking against an enemy who has been defeated and is lying mortally wounded. Bhima's fame has been tarnished for all time.into account all the wrongs that the Kauravas have done to the Pandavas. It was not wrong for Bhima to strike below the navel an enemy who had wickedly contrived against his life on many occasions. he knew very well that he invited Bhima to make good his oath.

and made Dronacharya throw his bow away. I go to swarga with my friends and relatives. Do not attribute it to me. and rejoice. surely it was you who instigated Satyaki to butcher Bhurisravas when his right arm had been foully cut off and he stopped fighting and spread his arrows for a seat for holy meditation. I saw you instigate Bhima to aim his blow at my thigh! Do you think I did not see you. and thus he was slain when he was off his guard. and settled down in yoga posture for meditation on the Supreme? Was it not you who wickedly contrived to make Karna hurl the fatal spear at Ghatotkacha instead of reserving it for Arjuna as he had all along resolved to do? O great sinner." "Krishna. wretch Dhrishtadyumna attacked and killed the acharya who had stopped fighting. were mine. sole cause of our destruction. when that." said Krishna. So also were you the cause of the death of Karna and others. pointing to your thigh. It was you who brought about the death of Karna by inducing Arjuna to attack him in a cowardly manner when he was engaged in lifting his chariot wheel which had sunk and stuck in the mud in the field of battle. All human joys. But you and your friends will live on earth to suffer. I have given gifts ordained by law and I have reigned supreme over all the sea-girt earth. "why do you let your anger add to the pain of your last moments? It is your own misdeeds that have brought about your end. "Son of Gandhari. which you inflicted on Draupadi? The animosities and passions that resulted from your misdeeds cannot be made ground for condemning others. he fell prostrate again. disregarding the laws of single combat? Till then it had been equal battle. Need I recount all the wrongs that you were guilty of against the sons of Pandu? What punishment can be too severe for the great outrage. You speak like a shameless wretch. You made Jayadratha. You brought about the end of Dronacharya through making Dharmaputra utter a falsehood. throwing away his weapons. the Sindhu king. I stood upon the humbled heads of foes. Did you not contrive the death of the grandsire Bhishma through stratagem? You advised Sikhandin to be placed in front when attacking Bhishma. Oh worthless man. You will go to the happy regions reserved for kshatriyas who lay down their lives on the field of battle. such joys as even the Gods cannot despise and kings sigh for in vain. making as though casually talking to Arjuna. the very pinnacle of power. believe that the day was over and he was past danger. All the deceptions and lapses you charge us with were forced on us by reason of your wicked conduct. knowing that the grandsire would scorn to fight a woman. but really indicating to Bhima that he should strike me on the thighs. exhausted by the pain of his wounds and the violence of his rage. Dying now. "I studied the Vedas. But you are dying the death of a brave man." said the stubborn Duryodhana. Bhishma and Drona had to die on account of your sins. I go to meet in heaven my friends and brothers gone ." Thus did Duryodhana pour his denunciation against Krishna and then. such death as warriors deem the crown of kshatriya life. You were the father of that deadly lie that issued from Yudhishthira's mouth. You have paid off on the battlefield the debt incurred by your greed.no business to sit or move with princes. You have neither pity nor shame. the whole world has condemned your act when by sorcery you made it appear as if the sun had set. Did you not look on without protest. and would let himself be mortally wounded without resistance. While I lived.

Kripacharya. why then should not we. was transported with joy when he heard Aswatthama take this oath. who have lost our armies. had been rankling in his mind. They were all quiet and asleep until a big owl came and began to attack the birds one after another and kill them. said to Him: "All my hopes are in you. he went to the spot where Duryodhana was lying and there took an oath that he would that night send the Pandavas to the abode of Yama. Who is more blest. he got an idea. was astonished. Vasudeva and the Pandavas felt small. attack our enemies when they are asleep? There can be nothing wrong in it. He was listening to the noises that the nocturnal birds and prowling beasts began to make as the night advanced. When Aswatthama saw the nocturnal bird of prey tear the helpless crows. find the long sought triumph but ashes in your mouth?" said Duryodhana. Duryodhana. On the branches of the banian tree.before. We have no other course open. To attack men who have retired to sleep. ASWATTHAMA WHEN Aswatthama heard how Duryodhana lay mortally injured. He was turning over in his mind how to execute his promise to Duryodhana. eager to welcome me. his righteous anger swelled like the sea. when his army is tired or when his forces are scattered. But Aswatthama did not get sleep." said Krishna. "It is wholly wrong." It was sunset and the forest was in utter darkness when under a big banian tree Kripacharya. You could not have defeated him by fair means. when he learnt how Duryodhana had been stricken down mortally against all rules of chivalry. for whom are we fighting? . has never been done before. mourning for slaughtered friends in desolate homes. practised by the Pandavas in order to bring about his father's end. Indeed it is only thus that we can punish and defeat these Pandavas who have achieved successes through foul play. hundreds of crows roosted. if we surprise them when they are sleeping in their tents at night even as this owl is attacking these blind crows. who was in the last physical agony of departing life. I am deeply indebted to this bird of prey from whom I have received the teaching. He immediately ordered those who stood nearby to install Aswatthama as Supreme Commander of the Army with due ceremony and. under which the three warriors were resting. "in what Duryodhana said. The deception." 94. Aswatthama. doomed to linger here. "There is truth. Thus can I avenge the deeds of foul play they have practised on us. indignation and hatred burnt within him. who heard it. The crows that could not see at night flew round and round helplessly and fell victims to the owl that attacked them violently. or you who. If we can lawfully attack an enemy. Now. Kritavarma and Aswatthama halted for rest. I. It would be an unprecedented crime against the laws of kshatriya conduct. for sorrow." Aswatthama made up his mind and he immediately woke up Kripacharya and informed him of his plan. "This can never be." said he. They were so greatly fatigued that Kripacharya and Kritavarma fell fast asleep as soon as they lay down. when that was over. "These wicked Pandavas and the Panchala that killed my father and all their supporters can easily be killed by us. This wicked man was invincible in battle. and learnt the details of the combat. And the gods showered flowers down on the dying warrior and the gandharvas played music and the sky was illuminated. There is no offence in adopting plans to suit one's altered circumstances.

let us share also. It is only if I carry out this plan that I can possibly repay my debt to my king and to my father. They reached the Pandava camp. We fought our best for the greedy and wrongheaded Duryodhana but we failed irretrievably. There is no purpose now in our continuing the fight and it is folly to do so. I have decided on it and I do not propose to alter my plan. When he was about to leave Kripacharya and Kritavarma cried: "Stop. who butchered my great father. These Pandavas have been guilty of the foulest conduct. and not a. once for all. destroyed the wall of dharma. Desist from this. before he could put himself into a posture of defence. Bhima has killed Duryodhana with a blow below the navel. Never could it be right to kill sleeping men." When Kripacharya spoke thus. Evil flourishes on retaliation. What are you resolved upon doing. The path you are bent on treading.The man for whose sake we joined in this war has been fatally wounded and his end has arrived. what are you talking? These Pandavas butchered my father when he had thrown away all his weapons and had sat down in prayer. Let us go to Dhritarashtra and the faultless Gandhari." Kripacharya was deeply grieved to hear Aswatthama speak thus: "You have attained a great name among men. I may be doomed to rebirth in the body of a foul bird or of a wriggling worm. Aswatthama's grief and indignation increased and he spoke bitterly: "Everyone feels sure that what he thinks is the only right and proper thing to do. we shall also follow. We have discharged our obligations most loyally. Dhrishtadyumna had doffed his armor and was plunged in deep slumber in his tent. drop of dharma is now left! Karna." he pleaded. Aswatthama? We cannot approve of it. Aswatthama leapt on the sleeping warrior and. and place ourselves at their disposal. I have no doubt in my mind that what I propose to do is quite proper vengeance for all these foul deeds. "Your spotless character will by this be blemished. I am going tonight to the tents where they are sleeping having cast off their armor and there I will kill the Pandavas and Dhrishtadyumna while they are asleep. One's understanding naturally limits one's vision. Why should we make research into law and chivalry when dealing with these ruffians who have attained successes by destroying both? If by killing the sleeping Panchalas. I do not care. Thus does evil grow! One transgression begets the next and thus evil grows from evil submerging righteousness. cruelly kicked him to death. who was on the ground putting right the wheel of his chariot. The sin you are resolved upon." "Sir. I seek such a birth!" Saying this and. Let us take counsel of wise Vidura also. These men have breached the embankment of dharma and released the flood. was murdered by these lawless rascals. They killed my noble and trustful father through a lie. The same process was relentlessly repeated until all the Panchalas and all the sons of Draupadi were killed one by one when they were plunged in sleep in their tents. even like a milk-white cloth bespattered with blood. ." So. They will tell us what lies before us to do. Aswatthama proceeded to harness his horses and get his chariot ready to start. but neither can we desert you in your desperate enterprise. without waiting for an answer. They have killed Duryodhana against the laws of chivalry. What dharma has been left for us to follow? The Pandavas have. they went along with him.

95. Draupadi's children. you have indeed done for me what neither the great Bhishma nor the valiant Karna could achieve! You have gladdened my heart and I die happy. have. if we can reach him. slowly opened his eyes and." The three of them accordingly hurried to Duryodhana. on the bank of the Ganga. having successfully crossed the big seas. "Let us go and give the glad news to Duryodhana. going up to Yudhishthira bowed and said: "Faultless . DURYODHANA. Kritavarma and I remain. AVENGED "O. We made a night attack on them when they were asleep. returns home but capsizes in a ditch and is lost. "Is there no one to avenge my children's slaughter. and they were mercilessly slaughtered by Aswatthama. Duryodhana has been destroyed. She came to Dharmaputra's side and wept." Draupadi was overwhelmed by inconsolable grief. I have avenged the great outrage and discharged my debts." Saying this. We have allowed ourselves to be destroyed like a merchant ship which. Aswatthama pried out the shining jewel that was part of his head and gave it to Bhima. Kripacharya. the like of which had never before been considered possible among kshatriyas. The man. "We have done our duty." said Dronacharya's son. gasped out these words: "Aswatthama. we have been totally defeated." And it went straight to the womb of Uttara who bore in her the son of Abhimanyu. The sons of the Pandavas have also been all done to death. The vanquished have indeed triumphed. and went away to the forest. acknowledging his defeat. been crushed and destroyed like vermin. Bhima took the great jewel and. on hearing this. I have drunk the blood of Duhsasana. going to Draupadi said: "Angel of spotless purity. has been vanquished. Let him die pleased. this is for you. who killed your beloved sons. hear the news and rejoice! All the Panchalas have been slaughtered." Thus said Aswatthama to the dying Duryodhana who. Duryodhana expired. They looked for him in all sorts of places and found him. you are yet alive. When the fire spread. The race of the Pandavas would have been destroyed thereby but for the intervention of Sri Krishna who saved the child in the mother's womb. Yudhishthira gave way to grief and broke down: "At the very moment of victory.After having done this deed. the sleeping soldiers were awakened and fled hither and thither in confusion. with struggling breath. There are only seven survivors now on the Pandava side. Kripacharya. Kritavarma and Aswatthama came out of the tents and set fire to the camp. The entire army of theirs has been destroyed. even like the crows on the banian tree under which they had rested in the forest. by our unwariness. Aswatthama quietly took up a blade of grass and charged it with the mantra of destruction and sent it forward saying: "May this destroy the race of the Pandavas. who survived the onslaught of the formidable Karna. by destroying this great sinner Aswatthama?" she cried. This child was Parikshit who was later crowned by Yudhishthira when the Pandavas retired to the forest. When she said this. at last. the Pandavas immediately went out in search of the murderer. before he expires." Draupadi took the jewel and. hiding himself behind Vyasa. When he saw the unexpected destruction of his army as a result of the attack during sleep. On our side. When he saw the Pandavas and Janardana approaching.

Dhritarashtra went to the field of battle. of what avail was weeping? "O king. Thousands of rulers have given up their lives in battle for your sons. WHO CAN GIVE SOLACE? WHEN the battle was over. nearest and dearest. It is true that ."said the rishi." The king was composed somewhat and he blessed Bhima and the other Pandavas who then took leave of him and went to Gandhari. Vyasa also approached Dhritarashtra tenderly and said: "Dear son. being only a bodily connection and a mere minor incident in the soul's eternal life." said Dhritarashtra.king. you cannot gain anything in the nature of dharma. nothing like brother or son or relative. You know very well that all living beings must die. Vyasa was with Gandhari. there is nothing that you do not know and which you have to learn from me. words of consolation addressed to a bereaved person do not remove his grief. Relationship ends with death. When souls have left their bodies. and in many more ways. You should try to love him and in that way bear the burden of life." Then Krishna said to the blind king: "Lord." Making his way." Gandhari said: "Bhagavan. But Vasudeva was wise. This great battle came to reduce earth's burden as I have heard from Lord Vishnu Himself. with death. That is why this calamity could not be prevented. It is now time that you should arrange for proper funeral ceremonies for the dead. pleasure or wealth. You have crushed only an iron image that I placed instead before you. Yudhishthira is your son. Dhritarashtra embraced Yudhishthira. there surely will be victory'? And so it has happened. Why should we weep for them? Those who die in battle after a heroic fight go as guests to receive Indra's hospitality. through the crowd of weeping women Yudhishthira approached Dhritarashtra and bowed before him. giving up grief. At Kurukshetra. "Oh queen. did the wise and good Vidura try to assuage the king's grief. but there was no love in that embrace. there is nothing like relationship. and. It is not right to let the mind dwell on what is past and nurse one's anger. Grieving for what is past. You must now call to aid your great fortitude." said Sanjaya to Dhritarashtra. "I have killed dear Bhima. With many thousands of bereaved women accompanying. Then Bhimasena was announced to the blind king. May your anger be appeased with what you have done to this image. But. the scene of terrible destruction. He gently pushed Bhima aside and placed an iron figure before the blind Dhritarashtra. I do not envy the victory of the Pandavas. All the women and children were weeping and lamenting their slain." 96. "Ha! My anger has deceived me. Your sons have really no connection with you. it befits you to wear this in your crown. Hastinapura was a city of mourning." cried Dhritarashtra. From the nowhere do lives come. and wept aloud." Thus. Dhritarashtra hugged the metal statue to his bosom in a firm embrace and then the thought came to him of how this man had killed everyone of his sons. Did you not tell them even when the battle began: 'Where there is dharma. Henceforth. they again disappear into nowhere. You have not killed Bhimasena. knowing the old king's exceeding anger. "Come. I knew that it would be thus and I prevented the disaster. Bhima is still alive. "be not angry with the Pandavas. the blind king thought of all that had passed. "It is not right to grieve for those who die in battle. And his wrath increased to such a pitch that the image was crushed to pieces in his embrace.

of which be took unlawful possession. We have since discharged honor's debt and found satisfaction in battle. He would not give back the kingdom. says the poet. it is true the kingdom has come into my possession. Do curse me who have committed great sin. even as she turned her face away. And you know what your son did to blameless Draupadi. Where is Dharmaputra? Call him. Whether it was right or wrong. who heard this." She said. The wise and good Gandhari suppressed all her anger and blessed the Pandavas and sent them to Kunti. I care not for life or for kingdom. Who can give solace to you and me? It is through my fault that this great tribe has been destroyed altogether. "Son. Narada appeared before Yudhishthira. We have lost sons that were dear." Bhima. Hearing this. with clasped hands. Yudhishthira replied: "Bhagavan.grief for the death of my sons has robbed me of my understanding. Gandhari heaved a deep sigh and stood mute. YUDHISHTHIRA'S ANGUISH THE Pandavas performed the til and water ceremonies for the peace of the souls of the dead warriors and camped on the bank of the Ganga for a month. Arjuna and Bhima are blameless. Bhima struck him below the navel and killed him. At once. her eyes fell on the toe of the prostrate Yudhishthira. the toe was charred black. Pride brought this battle about and my sons deserve the fate they have met." said Gandhari. her vision fell on the prostrate Yudhishthira he would be reduced to ashes on the spot. This victory appears to me but a great defeat. the cruel Yudhishthira. in Vasudeva's presence. and hid himself behind Vasudeva. Gandhari turned to Draupadi. Yudhishthira trembled as he. approached Gandhari. "Do not grieve." 97. Are you happy?" he asked. He called Yudhishthira to play and deceived him. we restrained ourselves with difficulty then." Saying this. This was wrong and it is this that I find it impossible to forgive. who killed your sons. These Pandavas also are my sons. through the cloth with which her eyes were bound. I did this to save myself in battle. Arjuna knew the power of bereaved Gandhari's wrath. he fell on the ground and touched her feet. But then. who was in lamentation. I know that Duhsasana and Sakuni brought about this destruction of our people. Vasudeva was looking on. came near and said: "Mother. Your son was invincible in combat and so I did in selfprotection what was undoubtedly wrong. He bowed low before her and said softly: "Queen. One day. I and my old husband would have found solace in that surviving son for the rest of our lives. Mother. having lost all her sons. through Krishna's grace. when he misbehaved in the Hall of Assembly. you should bear with me." "Dear son. She turned her head aside knowing that if. knowing that Duryodhana was stronger and could not be defeated in single combat. But my kinsmen are all gone. Bhima called Duryodhana to battle and they fought. O . I do not complain about it. you were victorious and you are the sovereign lord of the land. We had been wronged by your son in so many ways. "Dear girl. And. the valor of Arjuna and the power of your dharma. you should forgive me. stands before you fit to be cursed. surely you would not have blamed us. whose eyes were bound in a cloth in loyal lifelong penance for her husband's blindness. if you had left but one out of my hundred sons and killed all the rest and satisfied your anger. But through a little space in the cloth. Bound by Dharmaraja's vow. If we had killed your son on the spot.

Karna went to the Mahendra hills and deceived Parasurama by saying that he was a brahmana and became his disciple. "Do not blame yourself. the anger of the brahmana whose cow was killed by Karna. which were so much like Kunti's feet. Oh! I am a sinner. he discovered that the disciple was not a brahmana. Narada told him all about Karna and the curses that had been pronounced on him on various occasions. when that great outrage was committed and my anger rose. Do not grieve believing that you alone caused his death. who was Arjuna's father. we took our own brother for an enemy and killed him. my wrath subsided. Indra. even Karna who stood rooted like a rock in his honor and at whose valor the world wondered. "His father. he was angry. Karna was free in making gifts. Karna's feet were so much like our mother's feet. however. a brahmana's cow was accidentally hit and killed. It happened tha an an insect bit a hole into Karna's thigh when one afternoon the teacher had fallen asleep on Karna's lap. You have deceived your teacher. for Karna's. Karna bore the acute pain quietly and did not stir. The warm blood trickling from the wound woke up Parasurama. the sun . but Yudhishthira was not consoled by these words. From him he obtained instruction in archery and the use of many astras. Tell me the truth. Once. a low fellow who murdered his own brother. "You are a kshatriya. You are not a brahmana. even like this innocent cow which you have killed. Yudhishthira heaved a deep sigh. I remember that now and my grief increases. death. when he discovered that Karna was a kshatriya. Karna's strength was reduced. he approached Drona and entreated him to teach him how to wield the Brahmastra. Karna took them out and gave them away accordingly. One day. on the other hand. This terrible act of slaying our own brothers was the result of our sinful attachment to our possessions. when Karna was practising with his bow in the forest near Parasurama's asrama. kept the promise he gave to our mother and abstained from killing us. lest the master should wake up. "Karna's pledge to his mother Kunti that he would not kill more than one of the five of you. when I looked at his feet. otherwise you could not have borne this physical pain without stirring. your chariot wheels will stick in the mud and you will be done to death. Fool! When your hour comes. Karna." Parasurama's wrath against kshatriyas is well known and. In the large hall. the way in which his charioteer Salya depressed him by underrating his valor and Vasudeva's stratagems. these combined to bring about Karna's end." said Kunti. One day. Parasurarna's curse. One day." Thus said Narada. he cursed him thus in his anger. Thereupon. your knowledge of astras will fail you and what you have learnt from me through deception will not avail you. when Karna saw that Arjuna was superior to him in archery. From that time. Drona declined saying it was not open to him to instruct any but a brahmana of faultless conduct or a kshatriya who had purified himself by much penance. came in the garb of a brahmana and begged of Karna for a gift of the divine earrings and armor with which he had been born. My mind is troubled greatly at this thought.Narada." So saying. When he saw what had happened. son." Parasurama was exceedingly fond of Karna and taught him all the archery he knew and instructed him fully in the use and the withdrawing of the Brahmastra. The brahmana was angry and uttered a curse on Karna: "In battle.

is to live an active life and perform his proper task. and women need not grieve over an incapacity of this kind. Do rule the land yourselves leaving me free to go to the forest.lord himself." he said to his brothers. not to go to the forest renouncing activity. . as well as brother. The affectionate temperament natural to women may perhaps incline them to openness. pleaded with him. my teacher. mother" said Yudhishthira. my mother. Sanyasa is not the dharma of kshatriyas. The king went to the Ganga and offered libations. "It was right we killed Duryodhana and his men. The duty of a kshatriya. May women never be able to keep a secret henceforth." This is the poet's story of how Yudhishthira cursed all women in his anguish over having killed his own elder brother. It is a fallacy to attribute the differences that arise out of training and occupation on nature itself and imagine some qualities as peculiar to a sex." Then Vyasa spoke to Yudhishthira at length and explained where his duty lay. After the discourse was over. Why should we regret it? Among the duties of a king is included the inflicting of just punishment. alas"' he said. Yudhishthira was duly crowned at Hastinapura. But some women do keep secrets very well indeed. and persuaded him to go to the city and take up the burden of ruling the land. There is no cause whatsoever for contrition. He begged of him to give up the wickedhearted Duryodhana and join you. "You talk. You became thus the cause of this great sin. Cease grieving. Sahadeva also argued likewise and entreated: "You are my father. And this story is a beautiful conception illustrating that popular belief. 98. I too tried hard. and not a man possess this ability either. He was stricken with intense remorse and decided he must give up the world go to the forest and do penance to expiate his sin." "You deceived us." Nakula also contested the propriety of Dharmaputra's proposal and insisted that the path of work was the right one to follow and the way of sanyasa was beset with difficulties. Bhishma's soul passed out. if indeed Kunti's legacy still persists. it is an advantage to be able to keep secrets. This instruction of Bhishmacharya to king Yudhishthira is the famous Santiparva of the Mahabharata. Bhimasena also spoke and harshly. It is now your sacred duty to take up the burden of governing the land according to dharma. It cannot be avoided and is an essential part of the ruler's duty. "I see no joy or good. and took his blessing and instruction in dharma. "by hiding the secret of his birth from us. But he would not listen to us. "like a dullwitted person who has committed to memory the texts of the sastras without understanding their sense. It is a common notion that women cannot keep secrets. Yudhishthira went to where Bhishma lay on his bed of arrows awaiting his death. YUDHISHTHIRA COMFORTED YUDHISHTHIRA'S pain of mind increased everyday as he thought of all the kinsmen that had been killed. in taking up the office of king or in worldly enjoyment. You have meted just punishment too evildoers. Do not leave us. Before taking up the duties of the State. pointing out precedents." Arjuna talked of the nobility of family life and the entire good one may do without taking sanyasa. bear with us. But it is not great virtue from the point of view of moral character. He brought his end on himself." Draupadi also spoke. It may be that in worldly affairs.

with his resources thus augmented. approached the divine preceptor and saluting him asked: .in accordance with ancient custom. he fell senseless on the ground. Like gold seen in a dream the glory has vanished. as he stood for a while. Arise and. was master of all knowledge. Brihaspati had a younger brother. The wisest of men are sometimes affected by envy and suffer thereby. Samvarta. Brihaspati was. for the peace of the departed soul. who had come to know about Samvarta found his whereabouts and approached him with the invitation to conduct his yajna. Brihaspati. The duties appertaining to that victory await your attention now. Yudhishthira went up the bank. King Marutta of the Ikshwaku dynasty made great penance and obtained from the Lord of Kailasa a great goldmine in the Himalayas and. king Marutta. who was also a person of great learning and a very good man. and overcome by intense grief. stricken with envy of his brother. for this reason. My hundred sons have disappeared into the world of nowhere. After the ceremony was over. just because the others are good. What shall I do now?" Thus did Brihaspati brood over it until his envy affected his health." 99. He was learned in all the Vedas and all the sciences. despite his pressing entreaties. "Here is this enemy of mine. Do not grieve. teacher to the gods themselves. as a result of the yajna. There. but finally yielded. until it attracted the attention of Indra himself. His health declined rapidly and he became thin and pale. You achieved victory in battle in accordance with the dharma of warriors. I listened to the ignorant words of Duryodhana and deceived myself. Samvarta. But Brihaspati feared that Marutta would. Brihaspati harassed Samvarta in many ways. This further increased Brihaspati's envy of his unfortunate brother. like an elephant struck down by the hunter. chief of the gods. reign over the kingdom that awaits your rule. Leave grief to Gandhari and me. He refused to comply with the king's invitation. When he could not stand it any more. In this world men become envious of others. Bhima went up to his big brother and caressed him tenderly and spoke to him soothing words. His condition grew worse everyday. poor Samvarta put on the appearance of an eccentric and wandered from place to place. Thereupon. and they cannot bear this. all the tragic events came back to his mind. while they themselves are not so good. He at first refused and tried to avoid the honor. he decided to perform a great Yajna. yet he was once the victim of this debasing emotion and suffered disgrace. Vyasa narrated to grief-stricken Yudhishthira an episode in Brihaspati's life. Marutta requested Brihaspati to conduct the yajna for him. It is strange indeed that men should not suffer even virtue in others. assisted by your brothers and friends. Indra. I did not pay heed to the words of Vidura and committed a great error. and spent his days in that way to escape from his brother's persecution. ENVY AFTER the libation ceremony for Bhishma was over. going to conduct king Marutta's great yajna. Your duty now is to do what appertains to the office of king. But I have you as my son now. overshadow the gods who were his charge. Fool that I was. Dhritarashtra also came up and said to Yudhishthira: "You should not grieve like this.

"Why are you grieved?" asked Indra affectionately. What harm can Samvarta do to you? There is nothing you can lose on account of him. "Agni. was indignant." said Agni." Indra sent for Agni and said to him: "Go and stop the yajna of Marutta somehow. "Samvarta is going to conduct a great yajna. Indra did not wrangle but called a Gandharva had said: "Now. He ordered the attendants to do all the usual honors of hospitality. Brihaspati replied: "Deva raja. The king was mightily pleased to see Agni stand before him." said the king." Fire reduces things to ashes. "Why have you grown thin and bloodless? Tell me what troubles your mind." . I cannot help it. There is nothing wanting in the respect and courtesies shown by the gods. king of the gods. "Learned brahmana. The trees and the creepers along his path caught fire and the earth trembled as he marched roaring. you burn up other things in the world. "Do not let my anger burn you up. Have his feet laved and bring the gifts proper to his greatness." The god of fire agreed and went on this mission. How can anything burn you? What is this story of Samvarta’s angry eyes reducing you to ashes?"' "Not so. The wrath of one who led the strict life of a brahmacharin was exceedingly potent. He presented himself before the king in his divine form. I want you to go as my messenger and ask Marutta to give up Samvarta." said he. he will incur my wrath and be destroyed. but brahmacharya can burn up fire itself! At Samvarta's anger Agni." Samvarta. It is this that has made me wan and thin. You must find a way to put this man down. there is no object of desire that is not already yours."Lord. But Brihaspati refreshed his memory on the point and asked: "Would you yourself delightedly watch your enemy's power growing? Judge me by how you would have felt had you been in my position. "Stop this chatter!" he said to Agni. I shall bring Brihaspati himself to help you. retired quickly. The attendants serve me with all devotion. If you require a priest. "Let him be duly seated." Agni thus reminded Indra of what the latter had suffered. I sleep on a good bed and in right time. I beg of you to save me against this Samvarta. So great was his prostration of spirit. and the gods themselves have accepted you as their priest and wise counselor. trembling like an aspen leaf. Agni then explained why he had come. He returned to Indra and told him what had happened. Agni has failed. why are you ill? What has caused this languishing? Do you sleep well? Do the attendants serve you properly? Do they anticipate your wishes and not wait to be told? Do the gods behave courteously towards you or has there been any lapse in this respect?" To Indra's anxious inquiry. "Do give up this Samvarta. and this was done. "Brahmic power and the potency born of brahmacharya are not unknown to you." Brihaspati then told Indra about it all. The king of the gods could not believe the story." Then his voice failed and he could not proceed. Indra was surprised. Why do you needlessly take upon yourself this suffering by mere envy?" It was amusing that Indra should so far and so humanly forget his own history as to give counsel of good conduct. You are wise and learned. Tell him that if he does not. who heard this. incurring the wrath of those whom had attained Brahmic power.

"Madhava. who had come to do battle. When Utanga heard the narrative. he stood silent not knowing what to say in reply. When I am born as a Deva. I tried hard and applied every means to prevent the fight and make peace between them. Envy is a deadly sin. "I am born in various bodies from time to time to save the world and establish the good. when Indra hurls his bolt at you?" Even as he said this. what is there to say about ordinary mortals? 100. It is a universal disease. They were arrogant and intoxicated by power and paid no heed to my advice. if you like. In whatever body I am born. For a while." The Gandharva said: "O king. Krishna was astounded at the question of his brahmana friend.The Gandharva went accordingly to king Marutta and faithfully conveyed Indra's message and warning. was compelled to change over to benevolent peace and to take part in the yajna as the radiant god of sacrifices. I begged very hard of the ignorant Kauravas. Utanga returned the greeting and proceeded to make the usual inquiries about the health and welfare of relatives. or as a beast. Prepare now to receive my curse!" Vasudeva smiled and said: "Peace." Krishna pacified the indignant brahmana and appeared to him in his all-embracing form. If I appear as a Yaksha or as a Rakshasa. With eyes red with indignation he spoke to Madhava: "Vasudeva. The innocent recluse had not heard about the great battle that had been fought. "Fear not. He received the burnt offering in proper form and retired. Who can stop the hand of fate?" Then he related all that had happened. Brahmacharya triumphed." said Samvarta to the king. Then he softly disclosed what had happened." said the king: "I cannot give up Samvarta. While on his way. You have surely practised deceit and led them to destruction. I do everything like a Yaksha or a Rakshasa. the clouds above thundered and everyone knew that the god of the thunderbolt was coming. Do not use up the fruit of your great penances in this anger. peace! Calm yourself. The king was in great fear and entreated Samvarta to save him. Brihaspati's plan of envy failed miserably. "I cannot be guilty of the deadly sin of deserting a trusting friend. the Viswarupa. I act as a Deva does. he met his old brahmana friend Utanga. Indra. you may pronounce your curse. and trembled in fear. Krishna stopped and descending from his chariot saluted the brahmana. a terrible battle had been fought by the Pandavas and the Kauravas. I was in wrath and showed them even my . were you there standing by and did you let all this happen? You have indeed failed in your duty. If Brihaspati who could defeat the goddess of knowledge herself in learning became a victim to envy. "Sir. how can you survive. Almost all of them have perished on the field of battle. I tried to intimidate them. do your cousins the Pandavas and the Kauravas love one another as brothers should? Are they well and flourishing?" he asked. The king would not listen. and he proceeded to put the power of his penance into action. Listen to what I say and then. I do what is natural to that birth and complete my task. I must act in conformity with the nature of that body. But they would not listen. he was exceedingly wroth. If I am born as a human being. Krishna bade farewell to the Pandavas and went to Dwaraka. UTANGA WHEN the battle was over. Therein also I failed.

" Saying this. you have no reason to be angry with me. Even that failed to have an effect. unable to find water anywhere in the desert. Was this kind?" asked Utanga. he thought of Krishna and reproached him in his mind: "Indeed. Janardana smiled. O best among brahmanas. A POUND OF FLOUR WHEN Yudhishthira was crowned and installed as king after the Kurukshetra battle. Was it right of you to try me thus? Make an untouchable offer unclean water to me. and proceeded on his journey. thank you. was this all the boon you gave me?" The outcaste Nishada pressed Utanga over and over again to quench his thirst. "Achchyuta. The Nishada grinned at Utanga and saying. when you put my boon into action. I do not need it. The brahmanas and the poor and the destitute people. clothed in filthy rags." offered the bamboo spout of his water-skin to the brahmana to drink from. Utanga reflected: "Who was this? He could not have been a real Nishada.Viswarupa. "I wish to give a boon to you. but it only made Utanga more and more angry and he refused to drink. He said he could not give to a mortal what would give him immortality. "is it not enough I have seen Thee and Thy Form Universal? I do not desire any further boon. to drink. They persisted in wrongdoing. One day Utanga was very thirsty and." Utanga was in great anguish. Seeing the strange disappearance of the Nishada. delighted." After this explanation of Krishna. all the princes of the land gathered on invitation and the yajna was completed in great splendor. looking at the man and his dogs and his water skin." Krishna smiled. "You seem to be thirsty. My philosophy deserted me. Utanga recovered his calm. he bethought himself of the boon he had received. "O Utanga. "you put me to a difficult trial. But you have done this and made me suffer defeat at Indra's hands. Utanga. who had come in great numbers from all parts of the country. But I prevailed upon him and he agreed to take amrita and give it to you as water. Give me this boon. said in disgust: "Friend. I asked Indra to take amrita to you and give it to you as water." he said. while he was willing to do anything else. received bounteous gifts. for your sake. provided I let him do it as a Chandala and tested your understanding and found you willing to take water from a Chandala. They waged war and perished. He had five hunting hounds in leash and a waterskin strapped to his shoulder. The hunter and his dogs disappeared. "Is this all? Have it then. "O Purushottama!" exclaimed Utanga. What would you like?" said Krishna. Here is water for you. As soon as be did this. I accepted the challenge believing you had attained jnana and transcended externals. let me find water to drink whenever I might feel thirsty. 101. he performed an aswamedha yajna." But Krishna insisted and the desert wandering simple brahmana said: "Well." Utanga saw his mistake and was ashamed. Everything was done in . my Lord. if you must give me some boon. It was certainly a test and I have blundered miserably. I rejected the water offered by the Nishada and proved myself to be an arrogant fool. a Nishada appeared before him. Krishna was. As was the custom on occasions of this great horse sacrifice. a brahmana. Utanga spoke in bitter tones. A moment later Madhava himself appeared with conch and discus." said Utanga.

a weasel suddenly appeared right in the middle of the assembled guests and priests in the great pavilion and. went up to the weasel and spoke to it: "Wherefrom and why have you come to this yajna. The mantras have been chanted perfectly and the oblations duly offered. with great difficulty they came home with a small quantity of maize. Long before you waged your battle there. The priests were alarmed at this strange and unnatural occurrence and wondered whether it was some evil spirit that had come to pollute and disturb the sacred rites. They ground it and after saying their prayers they divided the flour into four equal parts and. Once upon a time. Everyday in the afternoon they would sit down and have their only meal for the day." The gathering was amazed at this strange and impertinent speech of the golden weasel. which they had gathered. listen to me. sat down . which I have seen. all four lived in this manner. Listen to my story which is a true narrative of what I saw myself. They would not keep over any thing for the next day if they got more than they required for the day. And in reward for his gift. On days when they failed to find enough grain. For many days the brahmana and his family starved. offering thanks to God. It is not proper that you should speak derisively of our great sacrifice. From somewhere unseen. This was the strict unchhavritti discipline they had pledged themselves to observe. is not in truth as great an act as that gift of the poor brahmana. they would fast until the next afternoon. lived in Kurukshetra. Pray. who obtained his daily food by gleaning in the fields. a poor brahmana who lived in Kurukshetra made a gift of a pound of maize flour. I do not grudge the good fortune of king Yudhishthira or the good fortune of any of you. which you have just completed so showily. be not so vain about it. All cultivation ceased and there was neither sowing nor harvesting nor any grain scattered in the fields to be gleaned. a brahmana. when a great drought came and there was famine all over the land. after rolling on the ground laughed a loud human laugh as if in derision. Everyone that has come to this yajna has been duly attended to and has been accorded suitable honors and gifts. You no doubt believe that you have completed your yajna in splendid style. Why do you speak as you do? Do explain yourself. One day. You seem to think too much of your yajna. he and his wife. after wandering in hunger and heat. They passed their days thus for many years. It is not envy that makes me say this. The brahmana priests. This remarkable creature turned round and took a good view of the assembly of princes and learned brahmanas that had come from various countries and gathered in that great pavilion and began to speak: "Princes assembled and priests. Everyone is pleased with the gifts and returns happy and contented. performed by good and worthy men? Who are you? Why do you utter words of scorn about our sacrifice? This aswamedha has been duly completed in every detail in accordance with sastraic injunctions. son and daughter-in-law were immediately taken to swarga. who had performed the sacrificial rites. Your great horse sacrifice and all the gifts made in that connection are less than that small gift of the Kurukshetra brahmana. The yajna. The four castes are pleased. He and his wife. what I said is true.magnificent style and in conformity With the injunctions relating to the sacrifice." The weasel laughed again and said: "O brahmanas. The weasel's body was on one side all shining gold. son and daughter-in-law.

a brahmana entered and he was exceedingly hungry. Seeing an unexpected guest arrive. I shall have eternal good as my reward. 'the beasts and the birds and all the animals tend the females of their species with care. Seeing his hungry and unsatisfied look. give my share also to him. May blessings attend on you.eagerly to eat. artha and all the objects of human activity are to the common and equal benefit of both of us who have been joined together? Do look on me with compassion and take my share of the flour and satisfy the requirements of this our guest. pale and emaciated as you are from starvation. who saw this. 'Oh best of brahmanas. not knowing that to do. While he was in distress.' 'Dear boy.' Saying this. best of brahmanas'. Is it not said that the father is born afresh in his son? My share of the flour is yours in truth. I shall accept your share!' said the father. when his wife said: 'Lord. Youth's hunger is severe. she handed her share of the flour to her husband to be given to the guest. your nobility and your mastery over the senses fill me with pride. 'old men can stand starvation.' The father's distress increased. replied the wife. you propose to give your part of the food also to me. I shall indeed be guilty of cruelty. I entreat you not to deny my request. The guest ate the third part of the flour also but he was still hungry! The brahmana. I am a poor man.' said the brahmana. so that I may earn merit by giving it to this guest. you who help me and serve me to do the sacred duties of a householder's life? Beloved one. you are now skin and bone and famished and exceedingly hungry. Just then.' The father-in-law was sad beyond measure. What shall I gain in this or in the other world if I leave you to starve and suffer hunger. the brahmana was grieved and did not know what to do. 'Give it to this guest who seems to be still hungry. came forward. I shall be glad if the guest's hunger he satisfied. Pray accept this. by that. 'O girl of spotless character. they got up and made due obeisance and asked him to join them. Blessing on you. The pure-souled brahmana and his wife and son and daughter-in-law were exceedingly delighted to have the good fortune of receiving guest at that juncture. But he was still hungry! Great was the distress of the poor brahmana of Kurukshetra. who lived on scattered grain. I shall give my share too and gladly complete our efforts to feed this guest. 'Faithful one. I shall be indeed happy if we shall thus be able to fulfil our duty. I am not able to find it in my heart to accept what you say. His son. The son is not different from the father.' said he. for. 'Child!' he exclaimed. I beg of you to accept it and bless me. his daughter-in-law addressed him thus: 'Lord. How can I leave you to suffer in that condition and hope to attain any good by feeding the guest? No. was confused. How could I possibly look on when you wither in hunger?' The . 'Father. The guest ate it with avidity but he was still hungry when he had finished. your child.' The son insisted: 'it is the duty of the son to look after his father in his declining years. May man do worse? I cannot accept your suggestion.' The brahmana yielded and took the wife's share and gave it to the guest who took it greedily and ate it. You are hungry as I am and you should not make any distinction between us. 'Is it not true that dharma.' 'You are versed in the sastras. and he took the son's flour and gave it to the guest to eat. If I accept your offer. This flour of maize was obtained in accordance with dharma.' said the brahmana of Kurukshetra and gave his share of the flour to the guest. here is my share. I beg of you to accept what I give and feed this hungry guest. I cannot accept your offer.

preceptor of my preceptor. Although to fight and to kill his enemies is a Kshatriyas dharma. what Arjuna felt and argued had also a great deal of force and there was more truth in it than appeared on the surface. god of my god. how did they treat Dhritarashtra?" asked king Janamejaya. the weasel continued: "I was nearby and caught the fragrance wafted from that flour of the brahmana.girl would not listen. but he becomes the slave of ever-fresh longings and fresh griefs and finds no peace. It made one side of me into bright gold. believing that this sacrifice might come up to the standard. the joy that they had expected. When it is in his possession. It makes them go aside from the path of rectitude. the gods are showering flowers in admiration of your extraordinary sacrifice. The chariot is waiting for you. See the gods and the Gandharvas have come down in their bright chariots with their attendants to take you with your family to the happy regions above. given with the purest intent and to the uttermost of your capacity. Enter and go to swarga." The weasel then disappeared.' Thus implored by his daughter-in-law. I then went and rolled in joy on the ground where some of the flour had been scattered. even when hungry. you and your family. But you have. I said that your great aswamedha was not so great as the loft of flour which that brahmana made to his guest. who recited Vyasa's Mahabharata to the king. bravely set aside your attachment to wife and son and placed dharma above all else. I implore you to accept my flour. they found not in victory. Krishna in answer. I have been trying every place where men perform great yajnas and penances.' Saying this the mysterious guest disappeared. The pious. explained the principles of man's activities and the proper discharge of one's duties. would pale into insignificance before the great sacrifice you have done through this single act of hospitality. he is soon satisfied. So. what joy can one gets out of power and position and wealth acquired by slaughter and grief inflicted on brothers and near relations? It was this that Arjuna pointed out in his powerful plea before Krishna when the battle commenced. Hunger destroys the understanding of men. They took up their duties and discharged them according to dharma. as well as for your ancestors. It made my head all gold. the brahmana accepted her share of the flour and blessed her saying: 'Loyal girl. It leads them to evil thoughts. . But I found it did not. tells the story. Your gift has achieved swarga for you. may every good be yours!' The guest received this last portion avidly and ate it and was satisfied. lose their steadfastness. YUDHISHTHIRA RULES MAN pursues madly the object of his desire until it is got. when suffering the pangs of hunger. 102." Having related this story of the Kurukshetra brahmana who lived by gleaning scattered ears of corn in the field. Rajasuya sacrifices and horse sacrifices completed in splendor. But. Is not this body of mine dedicated wholly to serve my lord? You should help me to attain the good. I heard that Yudhishthira of world fame was performing a yajna and came here. and Vaisampayana. D o take this flour. 'Blessed is your hospitality. I entreat you. Desirous of getting my body made all gold. you are lord of my lord and master. The Pandavas defeated the Kauravas and became the unquestioned sovereigns of the land. But. "When the Pandavas won and obtained the kingdom. 'Father. I turned on the other side but there was no more flour left and that part of me is still as it was. Lo there. Your gift has leased me.

who came to Hastinapura from all parts of the world. Gandhari felt intensely grieved when she noticed that Bhima uttered words. lived with Dhritarashtra and kept him company. He would let fall in Dhritarashtra's hearing words like "Those perverse cousins of ours have themselves to thank for their destruction. Yudhishthira issued no orders except with his approval. And one day Dhritarashtra sent for Dharmaputra and spoke to him thus: "Son. They did nothing to make him feel humiliated. as they did of old. as if he were still the emperor.The Pandavas with the utmost respect treated Dhritarashtra. 103. countermand the old man's instructions. You have tended me most lovingly. I have made gifts and offerings to ancestors and fulfilled all my desires in that respect. who had lost all his sons. Fifteen years passed in this manner. in impatience. The brothers. Yudhishthira was most careful in his speech. however. when old Dhritarashtra found himself utterly unable any longer to bear the burden of grief. For Kunti was a veritable embodiment of dharma and inspired forbearance. They tried to make him happy. DHRITARASHTRA FIFTEEN years passed under king Yudhishthira's reign. Karna or Duhsasana. Yudhishthira consulted Dhritarashtra and conducted himself so as to give him the feeling that in truth the kingdom was ruled on his behalf and that he. He would sometimes. The princes. Dhritarashtra too conducted himself lovingly towards the Pandavas. laying aside her own grief. was still the supreme authority. My cruel sons. with perhaps the exception of Bhima. Bereaved Gandhari. who was plunged in a sea of grief. a noble and enlightened soul. followed this injunction faithfully. who committed unforgivable wrong to Draupadi and deprived you of your lawful . whose hundred sons had disappeared like dreamgold. She was. I have spent fifteen happy years under your roof. calculated to assuage his sorrow. Hurt by Bhima's occasional reproaches. which pained Dhritarashtra. Unknown to the Pandavas. never to allow himself to say anything to cause pain to the bereaved old man. Vyasa comforted him with instructive stories of olden times. G andhari. blessings on you. Kripacharya. Whenever she felt pained at what Bhima said. however. was looked after by Kuntidevi with loving and sisterly devotion and Draupadi dutifully ministered to them both. gave Dhritarashtra the same honors. The Pandavas behaved unexceptionably towards their old uncle. Gandhari too observed manifests and inflicted privation on her. with equal respect. as the eldest member of the family. Yudhishthira had instructed his brothers most strictly that nothing should be done to cause the slightest pain to their uncle." It was not possible for Bhima to forget or forgive Duryodhana. he secretly fasted and underwent hard penances. The women attendants gave Gandhari no occasion to feel her fallen estate. He showed no ill will towards them even as they showed him no unkindness. He sent from the royal kitchen most dainty and palatable dishes prepared for him. After a time. In the administration of affairs of the State. has ministered to my physical wants all these years. she would look at Kunti and find peace. Yudhishthira furnished Dhritarashtra's house with rich seats and beds and decorations and all else that was wanted. Bhima began on occasions to give cause for offence. he found no heart to accept the courtesies and comforts provided under king Yudhishthira's orders.

Perhaps. you have suffered grief. You are the king. gone without a trace. praying for your good. "that you had been fasting and sleeping on the bare ground and mortifying your flesh in this manner. If you retire to the woods and leave me here. Serving you will give me true joy and peace of mind. You know what the sastras have lain down. I can find no peace otherwise now. How then can I give or refuse permission to you? Let me assure you that my anger against Duryodhana is a thing of the past. A curse on my learning!" He sprinkled water on Dhritarashtra's face and caressingly stroked him with his soft hands. But he said: "Kunti's beloved son. I desire to go and live in the forest. Gandhari and Kunti is alike mother to me and command equal regard and filial affection from me. Or if you will do so. you will share in the fruits of my penance. My mind is fixed on the forest. You and all your people have served me with unstinted devotion. you yourself may take up the duties of king and look after the people. I am a sinner. it is due to age. Yudhishthira was unable to bear this distress of the grand old man. . I implore you to save me from further obloquy and burning shame." Saying this. Give me that opportunity and privilege. who had possessed the sinews of an elephant and had had strength enough to crush the metal figure of Bhima into powder. Let your son Yuyutsu be king. I was misled into believing you were well looked after and happy. My brothers too were unaware o f this. I must go with you and serve you there. perished on account of their sins. I want your permission for this. Father. I shall go to the forest. what joy shall I have in kingship? I prostrate myself before you and implore you to forgive the errors we have been guilty of. The time has come when with Gandhari I must do what has to be done for our next state. We are your children. I have lived under your roof for many years. These robes must be replaced by bark and tattered old clothes. their child. Fate willed it and engulfed us all in confusion of mind. Desire and ambition deceived me into this. I see no good in kingdom or pleasures.inheritance. ignorant of dharma. he leaned helplessly on Gandhari and swooned. who stood with clasped hands and trembling with agitation. Do not desert me. suitable for the life of Vanaprastha. for which there can be no solace. I must now go to the forest. I am unable to speak any more. As king. You must permit me now to fulfil my wish and let me go. I am tired. devoid of intelligence. You ask me for permission to go. Let me terminate this chapter of error. How lean he had become now and emaciated. "I did not know. even like Duryodhana and his brothers. I have talked too much. "Miserable and unworthy am I. piteously leaning senseless on Gandhari like one destitute. with his bones showing through his skin. I am feeling dry in my throat. "Have I caused all this?" he reproached himself. Dhritarashtra turned to Vidura and Kripacharya: "I beg of you to comfort the king and make him grant my prayer. Let me follow the practice of our fathers. If you go away to the forest. I am not the king." Dhritarashtra was deeply moved. my mind is fixed on going to the forest and on penance." Yudhishthira received a shock when he saw Dhritarashtra and heard him say this. And events happened which were not in our control. or anyone else you choose. But they fought like brave soldiers and died in the battlefield and have gone to the happy regions reserved for the brave." he said." Having thus spoken to Yudhishthira.

May your mind ever stand steady on dharma. 104. not thus! You blessed us and sent us to battle. THE PASSING AWAY OF THE THREE WHEN Yudhishthira at last gave his consent for Dhritarashtra's retirement to the forest. whom God has blessed with enlightenment. who.When the old man recovered. It is not possible for him much longer to bear his grief. Gandhari. he was taken aback and was speechless for a few minutes. but I committed the crime of not disclosing it to you. Look after Draupadi with unfailing tenderness. When you were in the wilderness for thirteen years." Dharmaputra had till then believed that Kunti was accompanying Gandhari only for a distance to say goodbye. Do not ever give cause for grief to Bhima. looking back occasionally at him and her other sons. Let him go to the forest. The burden of the family is now wholly on you. I shall be with Gandhari and go through the discipline of forest life and soon join your father. Keep this ever in mind." Dharmaraja said: "So be it!" Then Vyasa returned to his hermitage. Kunti had decided in her mind to go with Gandhari to the forest. has borne her sorrows with courage. he enjoyed the wide earth through his son and gave bounteous gifts. eldest of the Kurus. He is old. The time has come for him to do penance. Kunti went on her way. Dhritarashtra and Gandhari went back to their residence and broke their fast. desires. Kunti sat with Gandhari and they ate together. When he was acquainted with what had happened. Dhritarashtra asked Yudhishthira to sit by him and gave him his last blessings. Return to the city. Then the old man stepped out and. he tenderly clasped the Pandava to his bosom and muttered: "My dear boy. Do not stand in the way of their wishes. placed her hand on Kunti's shoulder and slowly walked along. this picture of the three elders of the . Let him go and live among the honeyladen flowers of the forest and breathe their fragrance. she was speaking to Yudhishthira: "Son." Then Vyasa entered. He was my son. "I must join my lord and husband wherever he be now. Let him go with your hearty consent. Let not Dhritarashtra pine away and die here." Thus did Kunti bless her illustrious son and depart. son." Yudhishthira's entreaties were however of no avail. When he heard her speak thus. thus guided. Arjuna. All his sons have gone before him. leaving the cares of the world behind. Gandhari. he said to Yudhishthira: "Do what Dhritarashtra. Nakula and Sahadeva. Kunti held to her purpose. The dharma of kings is to die in battle or to spend their last days in retirement in the forest. how sweet is your touch! I am happy. with his hand resting on Gandhari's shoulder. and without anger in his heart. because her lord and husband was blind. slowly walked out of the city on his journey to the forest. It is not right you should now desert us and go to the forest. When he recovered from the shock he said: "Mother. You left him nothing to desire. do not ever let your speech be angry when you speak to Sahadeva. gave up the use of her eyes and wrapped her face with a cloth all her life. As she walked on. Dhritarashtra has ruled the kingdom and performed yajnas. Remember with love Karna who died a hero's death on the battlefield. Yudhishthira stood speechless. Each with hand on the shoulder of the other. Go back unagitated.

The Vrishnis. raking up old offences and quarrelling. Gandhari and Kunti spent three years in the forest. Gandhari with her eves blindfolded and Kunti sat down on the ground. then pugnacious. The foolish Yadavas were rather perturbed at this unpleasant ending of what they had thought was a good joke. had thus disposed of the danger.tribe wending their way to the forest. spent the rest of his days in the Himalayas as a sanyasin. said: "O ye learned men. They lost all sense of discipline and humility. the Yadavas went to the beach for a picnic and spent the whole day in dance and drink and revelry. who had been to the blind king. taunting Kritavarma. Among the Yadavas. near where they had strewn the fine dust of the awful club. Dhritarashtra told Sanjaya: "This fire will envelop us all. crop of rushes. KRISHNA PASSES AWAY KRISHNA ruled at Dwaraka for thirty-six years after the Kurukshetra battle was over. The wind blew and the flames spread everywhere. "Would any Kshatriya attack and kill sleeping soldiers. Once. O Kritavarma? You have brought a great and lasting disgrace on our tribe. there sprang up a dense. leaving their sons behind. for they had forgotten all about the curse of the revered guests. . Seasons passed. the Bhopas and other branches of the Yadavas belonging to Krishna's tribe spent their days in unrestrained self-indulgence and luxury. they began to talk without restrain. You had better save yourself. long after. and rushed madly to the pools. Next day. The arrogant and irreverent Yadavas mocked these rishis with a practical joke. Kritavarma had fought on the side of the Kauravas and Satyaki on that of the Pandavas. not a boy or a girl and that mace will prove to be Yama to your tribe and destroy you all. on slight cause with one another. they were in consternation to see that Samba. developed labor pains and lo and behold. is painted by the poet so vividly that it fills the reader with solemn grief. some rishis came to Dwaraka. throughout all his days. At first merry. the blind old king." said Satyaki. facing eastwards in yoga posture and calmly gave themselves up to the flames. Kritavarma could not bear the insult. The liquor began to work. The deer and the wild boars ran in herds hither and thither. 105. When one day. the three of them." The rishis saw through the irreverent joke and said in anger: "This person will give birth to a mace. and thought they. his only light and was dear to him like life itself. presenting him to the revered guests. They dressed up one of their young men like a woman and. as if the parting happened in his own family now. When the Yadavas saw this. the forest had caught fire. Sanjaya. Sanjaya was with them." Saying this. Dhritarashtra. which they scattered in the sea." The rishis departed after pronouncing this curse. One day. and a number of drunken Yadavas applauded the attack. Dhritarashtra finished his ablutions and returned to their hermitage. They deliberated long and finally ground the mace to fine powder. they were curious and amused. Nothing happened for some time. the man who had been dressed up in female clothes. The rains came and on the beach. gave birth to a mace! This filled them with terror because they felt that their end was near as the rishis had cursed. tell us whether this lady will have a boy or a girl.

piercing his foot in the insteep. Balarama. laid about him with them indiscriminately."Like a butcher. sprang upon Kritavarma and cut his head off. Thus ended the avatar of Narayana in Balarama. Krishna knew that the destined hour was come. which issued from his forehead like a silver serpent. Draupadi. The rushes that had grown out of the mace became each one of them a mace as it was plucked by the doomed men in their unreasonable fury. Soon. for the light of Truth burned bright before him. a hunter. A dog joined them somewhere and kept them company all along. They crowned Parikshit. Krishna's son. He bent his bow and shot an arrow at the prostrate figure which. and plucking the tall rushes. dare to taunt me. went full through his body. joined the fray to rescue Satyaki and there was a desperate melee in which both Satyaki and Pradyumna were killed. "The time has come for me to go. And the seven of them climbed the mountain on their last pilgrimage. the hunter mistook Krishna for a wild animal resting on the ground. Yet. This led to every one of the Yadavas doing the same and there was great indiscriminate slaughter. When he saw the passing of Balarama. Pradyumna. When the Pandavas received the news. saw Vasudeva lying on the ground among the shrubs. Yudhishthira knew . The youngest succumbed first. YUDHISHTHIRA'S FINAL TRIAL To Hastinapura came the sad tidings of the death of Vasudeva and the destruction of the Yadavas. was overwhelmed with shame and disgust and sank to the ground. He gave up his life as he lay in a yoga trance. which swiftly developed into a free fight. prowling for game. as emperor and the five brothers left the city with Draupadi. From a distance. Balarama passed away into the ocean in a stream of light. which fringed the beach. you slaughtered the great Bhurisravas when seated in yoga after his right hand was cut off and you. In that wooded beach. They used them on one another with deadly effect and soon all of them were destroyed in this drunken brawl. visiting holy places and finally reached the Himalayas. son ofAbhimanyu. with his sword drawn. Krishna saw all his people thus destroy themselves as predestined. The rishis' curse had begun to work. 106. Satyaki. They went out on a pilgrimage. Yudhishthira saw his dear ones fall and die. all the Yadavas were in the quarrel on one side or the other and presently from words they came to blows. As they toiled up the mountain path one by one fell exhausted and died. Thus did the great Vasudeva depart from the world of men. Then followed Arjuna and then great Bhima too. they lost all remaining attachment to life on earth. he roamed about in deep meditation in the wilderness. pondering on the completion of his avatar." he exclaimed and a number of the revelers joined him and began to scoff at Satyaki for his barbarous deed. lying on the ground fell asleep. Sahadeva and Nakula were released from the burden of the flesh one after another. coward. who was seeing all this. serenely he went on not giving way to grief." he said to himself and. exclaiming: "Here is the end of the coward who killed sleeping soldiers! " Others immediately fell upon Satyaki with their drinking bowls and pots and anything they could lay hands upon.

before our eyes. son!" Yudhishthira replied: "O sage. Yudhishthira was astonished. I have come to take you. I desire to meet again Virata. who caused suffering to good men. I do not care to spend my time in his company. ye denizens of swarga?" asked Yudhishthira. he saw Duryodhana. The dog vanished from sight. There is no place in swarga for hatred. Tell me. Drupada." Saying this Yudhishthira averted his eyes from where Duryodhana was seated in glory. Finally. Dharma had come to test Yudhishthira's loyalty and he was pleased with his son's conduct. who threw their bodies into the blazing fire of battle for my sake. In swarga. Duryodhana. no. Do follow the law and stay here with king Duryodhana. "Then there is no room for me either. who was a sinner. this is not right. who fed enmity and anger and who brought death to countless men. It is not right to let the things of the flesh stay in the mind and breed ill will. "No." said Indra. is here. Then Narada. I do not see them here. "Where are my brothers." and pushed the dog away. It was dharma who. "There is no place for dogs in swarga. was dragged to the Hall of the Assembly and insulted under the orders of this wicked man. There. Where is that region of greater glory. "Your brothers and Draupadi have arrived before you. Discard them. Indra appeared in his chariot. Yudhishthira reached swarga. and refused to enter the heavenly chariot if he had to leave his faithful companion behind. Ascend my chariot and go with me in the flesh. followed Yudhishthira up the wearisome mountain path. Where are they all? My . He did not see his brothers or anyone else. But when Yudhishthira went up to take his seat in Indra's chariot. united to us in sacred wedlock. The Kuru prince was seated on a beautiful throne and he shone with the splendor of the sun and around him stood in attendance the goddess of heroism and other angels. smiled disapprovingly at Yudhishthira and said: "Renowned prince. I long to see the dear sons of Draupadi and Abhimanyu. We were driven by this man's envy and spite to kill friends and relatives. The dog still followed Yudhishthira. like ghee in the sacrifice? I do not see any of them here. Dhrishtaketu and Sikhandin. when his brothers and wife had gone leaving him alone. when he reached a great height. which must be the abode of my brave and good brothers and Draupadi? I am eager to see them and Karna. I do not see them here. Where are they. the heavenly rishi of encyclopedic knowledge. You have arrived here with your human body. burdened with your body. where are my brothers? I wish to go where they are. innocent Panchali. You have lagged behind. Do not speak in this manner about Duryodhana. so it is that you have these inappropriate feelings. The lesson enforced by the poet in this episode of the dog is that dharma is the only constant companion in life's journey. the dog also climbed up." said Indra. who did not know right from wrong. the Panchala prince. in the shape of the dog. The brave Duryodhana has attained his present state by force of kshatriya dharma. and also all the friends and princes who gave up their lives in battle for me. We stood tied by dharma to inaction when. "This man of greed. has attained this swarga of warriors." said Yudhishthira. of limited vision. I cannot bear the sight of this man.what was shadow and what was substance. we harbor no ill will.

I do not wish to be in heaven. "I am Arjuna. "Draupadi. do not go back! Stay here for a few minutes at least. "O Dharmaputra. dearer to me than life." he enquired of the messenger in deep anguish. A thousand thoughts tortured his mind as he proceeded. my friend. Do not go back. As they went along. There is no need to delay. be it for ever so short a time. At the close of the battle. replied: "O Yudhishthira. The messenger quietly replied: "If you so desire. "I am Nakula. Let me be with them. I am eager to see him. But just then." and so on. steadfast in dharma. for what good is it for me to be here. So. I shall stay here where my dear brothers. While you are here. it soon became dark and in the gathering gloom could be dimly seen things weird and revolting. Hearing the loud lamentations that thus came from all around him. As you came. grief overwhelms me. the messenger proceeded in front and Yudhishthira followed him. what good deeds did he do to sit like Mahendra in heaven. away from my brothers? Wherever they may be. the very sight of you gives us comfort and mitigates our suffering." said another. "I am Bhima. as if divining his intention. He saw mutilated human bodies everywhere." cried a third voice. we enjoy a respite in our torture. I am Karna." and they ordered an attendant to take Yudhishthira. Overwhelmed with pity at the poignant anguish in faintly remembered voices. I caused Karna to be slain. I long to see and be with them all. Your presence has given us momentary relief from torture. you may go at once. my mother Kunti wanted me to offer libations for Karna also. Yudhishthira was horrified and confused. by all means. are consigned to the tortures of hell. for no other sin than devotion to me. came mournful voices from all around." said a voice. "What sin indeed have these been guilty of?" cried he. even now. if you indeed desire to be with them. Yudhishthira cursed the gods and denounced dharma. till the accumulated pain was more that Yudhishthira could bear. Bhima. he exclaimed: "Alas wretched souls! Who are ye that lament like this? Why are you here?" "Lord. When I think of it. who was like Indra him self. Worms were wriggling everywhere and there was an insufferable stench in the air. you have brought with you a whiff of air so sweet and pure that we have found a little relief in our agony. while these are in hell? Am I dreaming or am I awake? Is my mind deranged? Have I gone crazy?" Overwhelmed by anger. "How far have we to go yet on this road? Where indeed are my brothers? Tell me. He turned to the angel attendant and said sharply: "Go back to your masters." . Son of Kunti. not this place!" The angels. O stay." The foul odors of the place were so sickening that for a moment Yudhishthira was minded to go back. "Dhritarashtra's son Duryodhana.place must be among them. The path was strewn with carrion and bones and dead men's hair." Thus the voices pleaded. who heard this. Arjuna. vaguely familiar voices rose all around in loud lamentation." "We are Draupadi's sons." cried another voice in piteous tone." "I am Sahadeva. Yudhishthira stood in painful bewilderment. In ignorance of his being my own blood brother. He waded through slippery slime of blood and offal. the twins Nakula and Sahadeva and our dear Panchali. we may turn back. that me is swarga.

Do you not see there Narada whose travels cover the three worlds? Cease grieving. but swarga. also disappeared all trace of anger and hatred. Yudhishthira at last found peace and real happiness. Thus passed the thirteenth part of a day. the god of dharma. It was an illusion designed to test you. . Then Indra and Yama appeared before Yudhishthira where he stood in anguish. nor anyone else who you thought had been consigned to suffering. thereupon. who. Neither the illustrious Savyasachi (Arjuna) nor your beloved brother Bhima is really in hell. Nor Karna the just. Then Yudhishthira saw their Karna and all his brothers and the sons of Dhritarashtra also. "Wisest of men. The mortal frame was gone and he was a god. The sinners and their suffering were no more to be seen. When they came. So it was that for the thirtieth part of a day you too were doomed to suffer the pangs of hell. all having attained the state of the gods. was transfigured. the darkness rolled away and the horrid sights disappeared. You chose to remain in hell for the sake of your brothers. This is not hell. smiled on his son Yudhishthira. In this reunion. serene and free from anger.The messenger went back and conveyed to Indra what Yudhishthira had said. A fragrant breeze blew as Yama. this is the third time I have tested you. With the disappearance of the human body." Thus said Yama to Dharmaputra. It is inevitable that kings and rulers must go through hell if only for a while.

Moksha (spiritual salvation). Anga : Mlechchha kings. : States the kings of which were Kalinga. Ajatasatru : Having no enemy. who lives with his spiritual guide. Brahmacharya : Celibacy. Bhagadatta : King of Pragjyotisha. elder brother of Sri Krishna. Adhiratha : Karna's foster-father. example. Magadha. Acharya : Teacher or Guru. a Kaurava supporter. Panchala. Aswathama : Son of Dronacharya and last supreme commander of the Kaurava force. Brahmastra : A divine weapon. Brahmacharin : A religious student. Salva Baladev : Balarama. (righteous. daughter of King Virata. Kama (satisfaction of desires). one given by Lord Brahma himself. friendly to the Pandavas. Bahlika. Arani : An upper and a lower piece of wood used for producing fire by attrition. the others being Dharma. the stage of life of Vedic study in which chastity and service are essential. Narada. Amrit : Ambrosia. Matsya. Ashtavakra : A towering scholar while still in his teens. Aswamedha Yajna : A horse sacrifice. father of Yavakrida. unmarried. Agastya : A great sage whose life-story the Pandavas learnt while on pilgrimage to holy places is wife Lopamudra was equally a great sage in her own right. Astra : A missile charged with power by a holy incantation. cruel and terribly strong Rakshasa or demon who lived in a cave near the city of Ekachakrapura whom Bhima killed to the great relief of the citizens.GLOSSARY Abhimanyu : Son of Arjuna and Subhadra who was married to Uttara. an epithet of Yudhishthira. Achuta : A synonym of Sri Krishna. a Kaurava ally. Artha (Wealth) : one of the objects of human life. Dasharna. Agnihotra : A sacrifice to God Agni. Brihadaswa : A great sage who visited the Pandavas in their forest hermitage and reminded them of King Nala of Nishadha who also lost his kingdom in the game of dice and who deserted his wife Damayanti because of a curse but ultimately regained both. Balarama : An avatar or incarnation of Adisesha the thousand-hooded serpent on which Lord Mahavishnu reclines in Vaikuntha. which makes the partaker immortal. Bhagawan : Form of address to Gods and great rishis. Bharata : Son of Kaikeyi and King Dashratha. Vyasa. Bharadwaja : A rishi.ness). Balarama : Elder brother of Sri Krishna. stepbrother of Rama. friend of all born things. Asmaka : A Kaurava warrior who attacked Abhimanyu. Bakasura : A voracious.Bhagawan Sri Krishna. Airavata : Indra's elephant. devoted to study and service. chastity. Alambasa : A Rakshasa friend of Duryodhana who had joined his forces but Satyaki compelled him to flee from the battlefield. who was exceptionally devoted to and loved Rama. Arundhati : Wife of sage Vasishtha. . the food of the gods. Brahma : Creator of the universe. Asita : A sage who held that gambling was ruinous and should be avoided by all wise people. irresistible. Akshayapatra : A wonderful vessel given to Yudhishthira by the Sun god which held a never-failing supply of food.

Bhima : The second Pandava brother who excelled in physical prowess as he was born of the wind-god. Chandala : A person of a degraded caste. Bhishma : The old grandsire to whose care were committed the five Pandavas by the rishis when the eldest Yudhishthira attained the age of sixteen for their proper upbringing including mastery of the Vedas. . a disciple of sage Raibhya. In it all public business is transacted. which she presented to the king. Brihannola : Name assumed by Arjuna while living at Virata's court in incognito. Burisrwas : One of the powerful kings on the side of the Kauravas. Chitrayudha : A Kaurava prince who laid down his life in the war. He was the eighth child of King Santanu and Ganga. Bhishmaka : King of Vidarbha. Vedanta and various arts especially those pertaining to the Kshatriyas. which later became known as Jarasandha. Chitravarma : A brother of Duryodhana who was killed in the war Chitrangada : Elder son of Santanu born of Matsyagandhi (Satyavati) who succeeded his father on the throne of Hastinapura. married the twin daughters of the Raja of Kasi. Brihadyumna : A King. they became a chubby baby. Brihatbala : A daring warrior who charged at Abhimanyu caught in the Kaurava army's net.Brihadratha : Commander of three regiments reigned over Magadha and attained celebrity as a great hero. Devadatta : Name of Arjuna's conch. Appointed supreme commander of the Kaurava armies. saying it was his child. and it serves also as the village club the headquarters of the village police and guest house for travellers. Chala : A Kaurava warrior. Chekitana : Head of one division of the Pandava army. Bhuminjaya : Another name of prince Uttara son of Virata who had proceeded to fight the Kaurava armies. A Rakshasi recovered the two portions from a dustbin wherein they were thrown and when they accidentally came together. Devaki : Mother of Sri Krishna. Chitra : A son of Dhritarashtra killed in the war. Dasaratha : King of Ayodhya and Rama's father. Charachitra : A son of King Dhritarashtra who perished in the war Chavadi : Place of public assembly of the village. Daruka : Sri Krishna's charioteer. His two wives ate each half of a mango given by sage Kausika and begot half a child each. Chitraksha : One of the many sons of King Dhritarashtra who fell in the war Chitrasena : King of the Gandharvas who prevented the Kauravas from putting up their camp near the pond where he himself had encamped. Later he intervened but without success to bring about peace and understanding between the Kauravas and the Pandavas who ruled separately from Hastinapura and Indraprastha respectively. Darshana : A country whose king attacked Bhagadatta's elephant in an effort to save Bhima. Bhojas : A branch of the Yadava clan belonging to Krishna's tribe. with Brihannala as his charioteer. whose conduct was much below standard and whose cause pollution. Chitrasena : A Kaurava warrior. Bibhatsu : One of Arjuna's name meaning a hater of unworthy acts. It is the property of the entire community. father of Rukmini and Rukma.

Dwaitayana : A forest where the Kaurava. Durvishaha : A warrior fighting on the Kaurava side. preceptor of the Devas. Dhanusaksha : A great sage whom Medhavi. epithet of Yudhishthira. Dussaha : A son of Dhritarashtra killed by Bhima. to save Karna's life but lost his own. learnt military art from Parasurama. but later vowed to celibacy and was known as Bhishma. father of Duryodhana. Dhaumya : Preceptor of the Pandavas. Then Medhavi fell down dead. born blind. He was a meat-seller. Dharmananda :The delighted of Dharma. Dharmaputra : The son of Yama. preceptor of the demons. married a sister of Kripa and a son Aswathama was born to them. Dhritarashtra : Elder son of Vichitravirya and Ambika. Durvasa : A sage known for his anger who visited the Kauravas. King of Panchala. the maser. Drupada : King of Panchala. Dhrishtadyumna : Supreme commander of the Pandava forces eldest brother of Draupadi. Durmata : A son of Dhritarashtra who got killed by Bhima. Dharmagranthi : Assumed named of Nakula at Virata's court. once insulted. Dharmavyadha : He possessed the secret of good life and lived in the city of Mithila. Dharma : Righteous course of conduct. father of Draupadi who became the wife of the Pandavas Duhsasana : Duryodhana's brother who dragged Draupadi to the hall of assembly pulling her by her hair. son of Brihaspati. Ganapati : Amanuensis of Vvasa who agreed to write down without pause or . Devendra : King of the Gods. who accompanied them during their exile to the Kurijangala forest. who married all the five Pandavas though Arjuna had won her in the Swayamvara. son of sage Baladhi. Durmukha : A chariot-borne warrior on the Kaurava side. as it usually offered scope for deceit and dishonesty. a name of Yudhishthira. Dushkarma : A warrior belonging to the Kaurava side. Durmarsha : A son of Dhritarashtra killed by Bhima. Durdhara : A son of Dhritarashtra killed by Bhima in the war. Lord of Death. Dhrishtaketu : A kinsman of the Pandavas. who fell in love with Kacha. Devayani : The beautiful daughter of Sukracharaya. the son of Dharma or Yama. singing Sama hymns addressed to Yama. Dhananjaya : One of the names of Arjuna. Durjaya : A brother of Duryodhana who was sent to attack Bhima. Drona : Son of a Brahmana named Bharadwaja. because of the vow that they would share everything in common. Later he became the instructor to of the Kaurava and Pandava princes in the use of arms. cows were being bred and housed. Devavrata : The eighth child of Santanu and Ganga who in time mastered the art yielding arms and learned the Vedas and Vedanta as also the sciences known to Sukra was crowned Yuvaraja (heir apparent).Devata : A sage who condemned the game of dice as an evil form of gambling and declared it unfit as entertainment for good people. He took the form of a bull and butted at that mountain and broke it to pieces. Dhartarashtras : Sons of Dhritarashtra Draupadi : Daughter of King Drupada.

killed him a number of times. Gandhari : Dhritarashtra's wife and queen mother of the Kauravas. King of Lanka. Govinda : One of the epithets of Sri Krishna and Vishnu. the Lord of Gods and who was killed by Rama's brother Lakshmana. teacher. the preceptor's lovely daughter. Guru : Revered preceptor. father of Sita. Killed by Bhima in a thirteen-day nonstop physical combat: with Sri Krishna and Arjuna as witnesses. wife of Sri Rama. Ilvala : This demon and his brother Vatapi hated brahmanas implacably. Laputa : Female companions of a saranga bird. the colony of cowherds. an epithet of Balarama who wielded a plough as his weapon. Indrakila : A mountain Arjuna passed on his way to the Himalayas to practise austerities to acquire powerful new weapons from Lord Mahadeva. Halayudha : Plough-weaponed. fell in love with him. Indrajit : Son of Ravana. Jayatsena : A warrior fighting on the side of Kauravas. a great Rajarishi. Janamejaya : A king who conducted a great sacrifice for the well being of the human race. Jalasura : A demon killed by Bhima. Hastinapura : Capital city of the Kauravas. : Allies of King Jarasandha. Also Krishna's step-uncle whom Krishna killed. who went to seek knowledge under Sukracharya as a brahmacharin. Jnana : Knowledge of the eternal and real Kacha : Grandson of sage Angiras and son of Brihaspati. Ilvala would invite a brahman to a feast at which he would serve the meat of the goat into which his brother had turned he. The Asuras (demons) suspecting him of wanting to steal the secret of reviving the dead. Gandiva : Arjuna's most potent bow. Janaka : King of Mithila. Kamsa. who conquered Indra. Jayatsena : A kinsman of the Pandavas. Devayani. who was a rishi named Mandapala in his previous birth when he was refused admission to heaven be cause he was childless. who possessed extraordinary powers of discrimination and wisdom and who searched and found Sita in her confinement in Lanka. Janardana : A name of Krishna Jarasandha : Mighty king of Magadha of whose prowess all Kshatriyas were afraid. Indrasena : A kinsman of the Pandavas. Ghalotkacha : Son of Bhima from demoness Hidimba. Jarita. Indra : King of the Gods. her father brought him back to life every time he was killed. Ultimately the secret was . it means a cowkeeper and refers to Krishna's occupation in Gokula. Jaya : A son of King Dhritarashtra who was killed by Bhima in the war Jayadratha : A warrior on the side of Kauravas who closed the breach effected by Abhimanyu in the Chakravyuha military formation by Dronacharya and trapped him inside.hesitation the story of the Mahabharata dictated by Vyasa. Gangadwara : A place where sage Agastya and his wife performed penance. tearing the belly of the guest. After the brahmin had partaken of the feast he would call his brother out who would rend his way back to life. Iravan : Arjuna's son by a Naga wife who fell in the battle on the eighth day. Hrishikesha : Krishna. Hanuman : Wise and learned monkey devotee of Sri Rama. Hidimbaka. the last married the two daughters of Jarasandha. But due to Devayani's love for him. Gandharvas : A class of celestial beings regarded as specialists in music. Hamsa.

Kripacharya : Aswathama's uncle who advocated a combined assault on Arjuna in battle as against Karna's boast that he could take him on single-handed. Krauncha : Curlew-heron. Kartikeya : Commander of the armies of the devas. gave her a divine mantra which when repeated would give her a son from any god whom she would call upon. or Kurma or Krauncha. Also son of Radha. Karna : A matchless warrior. The box was picked up by a childless charioteer and brought up as his own and became known as Karna. who made advances to Sairandhri (Draupadi). Disciple of Parasurama. each of which had a name such as Chakra. Uddalaka. Kumbhakarna : Brother of Ravana. Kunti chose Pandu as her husband at a Swayamvara. his foster-mother. commander-in-chief of Virata's army. whom she had served while he was a guest at her father's house. Kausikam : A sage who learnt from Dharmavyadha the secret of Dharma. Krauncha-Vyuha : military formation on a pattern supposed to resemble a heron with outstretched beak and spreading wings. who was asleep most of the time because of the curse of Brahma. Kunti : She was the daughter of Sura and was known as Pritha. Kuchasthala : A city where Krishna stayed the night on his way to the court of Dhritarashtra. Later. Krishna-Dwaipayana : Sage Vyasa. Kundinapura : Capital of Vidarbha. Kambojas : Enemies of the Kauravas whom Karna had defeated Kamsa : Maternal Uncle of Sri Krishna and son of Ugrasena. or Makara according to a real or fancied resemblance. Kagola : A disciple of the great sage and teacher of Vedanta. armies were arrayed for battle in formations of definite patterns. Kichaka : Sudeshna's brother.learnt by the devas who then succeeded in defeating the asuras. Kshatradharma : A great warrior on the side of Pandavas. Out of childish curiosity. Ketama : Another chief whose head was cut off by Drona. she invoked the Sun god by repeating the Mantra and then she gave birth to a son born with divine armor and earrings. she placed the child in a sealed box and set it afloat on a river. Kanka : Assumed name of Yudhishthira at Virata's court. Ashamed. Sage Durvasa. King of Lanka. also son-in-law of Jarasandha. whom Sri Krishna killed. Kunti-Madri : Queens of King Pandu who gave birth to three and two sons known as the Pandavas in the forest where he spent many years for having committed some sin. and was known as Radheya. son of the Sun god and Kunti. Kekaya : A brave warrior on the Pandava side into whose chariot Bhima got during the fighting on the sixth day. of performing one's duty. He was invited to meet her at night at the ladies dancing hall and was met instead by Valala (Bhima) dressed up as a female who killed him (Kichaka). Kartavirya : A great warrior who defeated Ravana. Kanika : Minister of Sakuni. In ancient Indian practice. She was given in adoption to the king's childless cousin Kuntibhoja and was named Kunti after her adoptive father. Nahusha and Yayati ruled. The Pandavas rebuilt the ruined city and erected palaces and forts and renamed it Indraprastha. Kritavarma : A notable Yadava warrior fighting on the side of Kaurava forces. Khandavaprastha : The ancient capital from where the ancestors of Pandavas. King of Lanka. Kesava : One of the names of Sri Krishna. The sons were known as .

Narada : The sage who suddenly appeared before Dhritarashtra and Vidura as the latter was describing the departure of the Pandavas to the forest and uttered a prophecy that after fourteen years the . Madhava : One of the names of Krishna. Lomasa : A brahmana sage who advised the Pandavas to reduce their retinue while repairing to the forest. the wise. to the servant maid of Ambalika. Mahavishnu. Mahavishnu : Lord of the Universe who took human birth in order to wrest his kingdom from Emperor Bali for the salvation of the world. king of Panchala. and Sahadeva. Maricha : A character in the Ramayan. Bhima. Lopamudra : Daughter of the king of Vidarbha who married the sage Agastya. Nala : King of Nishadha who lost his kingdom in a game of dice and deserted his wife Damayanti because of a curse. Lord Vishnu also took birth as Rama. Madhusudana : Another name of Krishna. Medhavi : Son of Sage Baladhi who desired that his son should live as long as a certain mountain lasted. Kurma : Tortoise. He accompanied Yudhishthira on his wanderings. Maitreya : A sage who visited the court of Dhritarashtra. having settled in the south. Nakula : Fourth brother of the Pandavas. Matali : Charioteer of Indra who took Arjuna to the kingdom of gods. Mahendra : A King who had attained heaven. Nara : Arjuna or Dhananjaya. It means the Lord of Lakshmi. expressed sorrow at the Pandava's plight. who offered her to Sage Vyasa in place of Ambalika. Lakshmana : Younger step-brother of Rama and son of Sumitra and King Dasaratha. to kill Ravana. Lord Narayana : Refuge of men. Meru : An ancient mountain. Nakula. King of Lanka. Duryodhana's gallant young son also bore this name. Those unable to bear the hardships of exile were free to go to the court of Dhritarashtra or Drupada. But he did not return at all. the slayer of the asura Madhu. At this Mandavya cursed Dharma who was born as Vidura. the moon and the planets. the Vindya began to grow very high obstructing the sun.Yudhishthira. Kausika. son of Dasaratha. Becoming jealous of Meru. Lord Dharma gave him this punishment for having tortured birds and bees in his childhood. uncle of Ravana who transformed him self into a golden deer at the behest of Ravana to entice Sita. Nandini : Vasishtha's divinely beautiful cow. Arjuna. Markandeya : A sage who told Yudhishthira the story of a brahmana. advised Duryodhana not to injure the Pandavas for his own good. wife of King Vichitravirya. Marutta : A king of the Ikshwaku dynasty whose sacrifice was performed by Samvarta in defiance of Indra and Brihaspati. Manasarovar : A sacred lake in the Himalayas Mandavya : A sage wrongly punished by the king by being impaled as the chief of robbers who had clandestinely hidden their stolen goods in a corner of his hermitage when he was in deep contemplation. Nahusha : A mighty king who was made king of the gods because Indra had disappeared due to his killing Vritra through sin and deceit. Agastya whom the Vindhya mountain respected asked it to stop growing until he crossed it on his way to the south and returned to the north again. Mantra : An incantation with words of power.

father of the Pandavas. panchama. The king of Anga. Panchalya : A son of King Drupada who died in the war. rishabha. It is one of the names of Vishnu and means the Supreme Being. Parvati : Consort of Siva. Pratikhami : Duryodhana's charioteer. Kunti before her marriage. as she had set her heart on marrying Krishna. Paravasu : Son of Raibhva and elder brother of Arvavasu whose wife was violated by Yavakrida. Pandu : Second son of Vichitravirya and Ambalika who succeeded to the throne of Hastinapura on his father's death.Kauravas would be extinct as a result of Duryodhana's crimes and vanished as suddenly. Pundarikaksha : Krishna. Paurava : A Kaurava hero. nishada sa. Nishada : An aboriginal hunter orfisherman: a man of low or degraded tribe in general. Panchajanya : Name of Krishna's conch. who was killed with a spear by a fiend for his sin. "flame of the forest". son of Dasaratha bathed here. . the beautiful wife of Ramachandra. pa. Rajasuya : A sacrifice performed by a king to be entitled to assume the title of "Emperor".) Rishyasringa : Son of sage Vibhandaka. Palasa : Butea frondosa. a name of Karna. Narayanas : Krishna's kinsmen. Phalguna : Arjuna. ga. Vishnu. Rukmini prayed to her for saving her from the cruel Sisupala king of Chedi. Raibhya : A sage whose hermitage was situated on the banks of the Ganga. Pritha : Mother of Karna. gandhara. Pradyumna : Sri Krishna's son. Aditi. mother of the gods. Narayanasrama : A charming forest where the Pandavas had halted during their wanderings. as his elder brother Dhritarashtra was born blind. Purumitra : A Kaurava warrior Pitamaha : Literally grandfather. The Pandavas during their wanderings visited it. ni. Nishadha : A country where Indra. madhyama. Parasara : A great sage. Purochana : An architect who built a beautiful wax palace named "Sivam" in Varanavata. Partha : Arjuna. which however carried no imputation of senile infirmity but denotes the status of the pater familias. Panchali : Another name of Draupadi Queen of the Pandavas and daughter of King Drupada. Lord of the gods had lived once disguised as a brahmana. prayed here to be blessed with a son. This ghat was very holy. Prabhasa : The Vasu who seized Vasishtha's divine cow. Sanatkumar became one with God. Ptirushottama : An epithet of Sri Krishna. who had grown up seeing no mortal except his father. Parikshit : Son of Abhimanyu and grandson of the Pandavas who was crowned king after the holocaust claimed the Kauravas and the Pandavas. an outcaste. Ravana : King of Lanka who abducted Sita. father of Veda Vvasa. Radheya : Son of Radha. dha. ri. Narayana : Sri Krishna or Krishna. who as a foundling was brought up as a son by Radha. Bharata. Indra was cleansed of his sin of killing Vritra unfairly by bathing in this ghat. Rishabha : The second note of the Indian gamut (Shadja. the wife of the Charioteer Adhiratha. the lotus-eyed one. ma. daivata.

Sakuni : He played dice on behalf of the Kauravas and succeeded in defeating the Pandavas by a stratagem. Satyajit : A Panchala prince. According to the conditions of the game. Sankula Yuddha : A melee. When king Virata was wounded. Satyaki : A Yadava warrior. Salva : Friend of Sisupala. king of the gods on whom Nahusha's evil eye fell. Time would destroy his reason and drive him to his own destruction. Satanika : Virata's son whose bead was severed by Drona. invited him. Sairandhri : A maid servant or female attendant employed in royal female apartments. Romapada : King of Anga which was once visited by a great drought. Salya : Ruler of Madradesa and brother of Madri and uncle of the Pandavas who because of having received hospitality from Duryodhana went over to his side. When defeated by Balarama and Krishna he established a new city Bhojakata. As a result the latter had to go and live in the forest for thirteen years. Samsaptaka : One who has taken a vow to conquer or die. having lost his chariot. horses and charioteer Sanjaya : The narrator who tells blind Dhritarashtra the progress of the war from day to day. Samvarta : Brihaspati's younger brother. who besieged Dwaraka Sri Krishna's kingdom to avenge Sisupala's death at the latter's hand. Sahadeva : Youngest of the Pandava princes who offered the first honors to Krishna at the Rajasuya sacrifices. Rudra : One of the names of Siva. confused fight. The Samsaptakas were suicide-squads. married her and made her his queen. vowed to some desperate deed of daring. and ruled over it. . a person of great learning. and never to retreat. Sarasana : One of the Kaurava brothers who died in the war. Sanga : Son of Virata. Sanyasin: One who has renounced the world and its concerns.which was afflicted with a dire famine. a hero who stood by Yudhishthira to prevent his being taken prisoner by Drona. who beguiled Duryodhana to take to evil ways. to bring rain and plenty. Rukma : Heir apparent to the throne of Vidarbha. friend of Krishna and the Pandavas who advocated collecting their forces and defeating the unrighteous Duryodhana. he had to get into Sanga's chariot. He was considered to be the evil genius. Sachidevi : Wife of Indra. Sarmishtha : Princes and daughter of king Vrishaparva who got angry with Devayani and slapped and pushed her into a dry well. Satyavati : A fisherman's daughter who possessed uncommon beauty and emanated a divinely sweet fragrance and king Santanu became enamored of her. a soldiers battle as distinguished from the combats of heroes. If discovered by anyone they were again to repair to the forests for a like term. She was also known as Indrani. Shanta : Wife of sage Rishyasringa. the thirteenth and last year of exile was to be spent incognito. Saibya : A ruler friendly to the Pandavas. father of Bhishma. ashamed to return to Kundinapura. while Arjuna was away answering a challenge by the Samsaptakas (the Trigartas). the capital of Vidarbha. He told the king that a victim of adverse fate would first become perverted and loses his sense of right and wrong. as foretold by rishis. Rudra dance : Siva's cosmic dance of destruction. Santanu : King of Hastinapura. Samba : A Yadava youngster dressed as a woman who gave birth to a mace.

Suvarna : A soldier on the Kaurava side. Saugandhika : A plant that produced a very beautiful and fragrant flower that Bhima went to get for Draupadi. Suka : A sage. Sri Rama : Also knew as Rama. mother of Ashtavakra. Died at the hands of Krishna at the time of Dharmaputra's Rajasuya sacrifice. Sugriva : Monkey-king. Sumitra : Abhimanyu's charioteer. Srinjayas : Pandava supporters. son of Vyasa. Somadutta : One of the suitors to Devaki's hand. Sini : One of the suitors to Devaki’s hand. Srutayu. Sujata : Daughter of Sage Uddalaka and wife of Kagola. . Subhadra : Wife of Arjuna. Hanumana tells Bhima how he was deeply thrilled when he happened to touch Rama's body. Sikhandin : A girl turned man. Sveta : A son of King Virata who fell in battle to Bhishma's arrow. begging his food. ally of the Kauravas. of terror in their enemies. This king of Ayodhya was banished to the forest for fourteen years. who related the Srimad Bhagavata to King Parikshit. a deep roar of defiance or triumph which warriors were wont to utter to inspire confidence in their friends. Astutayu : Two brothers fighting on the Kaurava side attacked Arjuna but were killed. killed Ravana the king of Lanka who abducted his wife. Sisupala : King of Chedi.Satyavrata : Warrior on the Kaurava side. subdued soldiers. Simhanada : A lion-note or roar. Virata's country. where the Pandavas settled after their exile of thirteen years. and brother of mighty Vali whom Sri Rama killed. Unchhavritti : The life of a mendicant. killing Srutayudha himself. Uddalaka : A great sage and teacher of Vedanta. Upachitra : One of King Dhritarashtra's sons who perished in the war. friend of Sri Rama. else it would kill the person who hurls it. Swarga : The heaven of Indra where mortals after death enjoy the results of their good deeds on earth. Savyasachin : Ambidexter. A kinsman of the Kauravas. Sudakshina : A warrior on the Kaurava side. Umadevi : Wife of Siva. Upaplavya : A place in Matsya Kingdom. A kinsman of the Kauravas. grandson of Arjuna. Her mother Parnasa had obtained that gift from Varuna who had specified that the mace should not be used against one who does not fight. Sita. Srutayudha : A Kaurava warrior whose mace hurled at Krishna rebounded fiercely. his disciple who had virtue and devotion but not much of erudition. Susarma : King of Trigarta. Ramachandra or Sri Rama. sister of Sri Krishna and mother of Abhimanyu. A name of Arjuna who could use his bow with the same skill with either hands. warrior on the Pandava side who restored order among scattered. a supporter of the Kauravas who backed the proposal to invade Matsya. Subahu : King of Kulinda in the Himalayas. one who can use both hands with equal facility and effect. Sudarsana : A warrior on the Kaurava army. Drupada's son. Sudeshna : Queen of King Virata whom Sairandhri (Draupadi) served. Tantripala : Assumed name of Sahadeva at Virata's court. Saindhava : Jayadratha. Supratika : Name of King Bhagadatta's elephant.

Vivimsati : A Kaurava hero. It means both son of Vasudeva and the supreme spirit that pervades the universe. as Yudhishthira himself was a slave and had lost all his rights. Brihaspati having left when insulted by Indra. when he is required to relinquish worldly responsibilities to his heirs and retires to the woods with his wife for an anchorite's life. all-including form. He had two sons. See the description in the Bhagavad Gita chapter eleven. Vrika : A Panchala prince who fell in battle. Vasudeva : An epithet of Krishna. Vali : Monkey-king. he worked as a cook at Virata's court. Mandhata. Vajrayudha : The weapon with which Indra killed Visvarupa on suspicion because his mother belonged to the asura tribe of daityas. Vriddhakshatra : King of the Sindhus. Vandi : Court poet of Mithila who on being defeated by Sage Ashtavakra in debate drowned himself in the ocean and went to the abode of Varuna. whose amorous overtures Arjuna declined.Urvasi : An apsara in Indra's court. Varanavata : A forest in which the Pandavas were asked to stay in a waxhouse which was to be set on fire at midnight in order to kill the Pandavas while they were asleep. Achala : Sakuni's brothers. Yayati. great soldiers whom were on the Kaurava side. Vasishtha : A sage who had cursed the eight Vasus to be born in the world of men as sons of Ganga and Santanu. they suffered defeat at the hands of Yudhamanyu Virata : King of Matsya. who with Sri Krishna visited the Pandavas in their exile. brother of Sugriva. Vasudhana : Another warrior who perished in the battle on the Twelfth Day. Vaisampayana : Chief disciple of sage Vyasa who revealed the epic for the benefit humanity. Vanaprastha : The third stage of the dvija's life. Vichitravirya: Younger son of Santanu who succeeded King Chitrangada on the throne of Hastinapura. Kekayas : Tribals who were devoted to the Pandavas. Therefore the Kauravas had not won Draupadi legally. Ganga threw her seven children in to the river with a smiling face. Visoka : Bhima's charioteer. Vrishnis. Vaishnava mantra : An invocation which endows a missile with some of the irresistible power of Vishnu. Bharata and others also performed it. He was born out of his father's sacrificial flames and became Indra's mortal enemy. Vikarna : A son of Dhritarashtra who declared the staking of Draupadi illegal. author of the Mahabharata. father of Jayadratha into whose lap his son Jayadratha's head was caused to fall by Arjuna after cutting off Jayadratha's head. he held Vinda. Vrisha. Vaishnava : A sacrifice performed by Duryodhana in the forest. Dhritarashtra and Pandu. Valala : Assumed name of Bhima when. Vrishasena : A warrior on the Kaurava side. the country which was suggested by Bhima to live in incognito during the thirteenth year of their exile. Vritra : Son of Twashta who was defeated by Indra's weapons Vajrayudha. Viswarupa : All-pervading. . Vedavyasa : Vyasa. Visvarupa : Name of Twashta's son who became the preceptor of the gods. Anuvinda : Two brothers kings of Avanti.

an epithet of Bhima. Yudhamanyu : A prince supporting the Pandavas. whose son was Yudhishthira. Yuyutsu : A noble son of Dhritarashtra who bent his head in shame and sorrow when Yudhishthira lost Draupadi. Yavakrida : Son of Sage Bharadwaja who was bent upon mastering the Vedas.Vrikodara : Wolf-bellied. . Yayati : Emperor of the Bharata race who rescued Devayani from the well into which she had been thrown by Sarmishtha. It is he whose questions Yudhishthira answered correctly whereupon his dead brothers were brought back to life on the banks of the enchanted pool. Yuyudhana : Another name of Satyaki. the god of wealth. One of the ancestors of the Pandavas who became prematurely old due to Sukracharya's curse. He also disapproved of the unfair way in which Abhimanyu was killed. subjects of Kubera. Yama : God of death. God of dharma. denoting his slimness of waist and insatiable hunger. He later married both Devayani and Sarmishtha. Yaksha : A class of demi-gods. Yajna : A sacrifice. son of sage Parasara. Vyasa : Compiler of the Vedas. Vyuha : Battle arrays.

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